Arkansas Rolls Out New School Vaccination Policies

The Arkansas Department of Health said students who will be 11-years-old or older on or before Sept. 1 will be required to get a Tdap shot.

Previously, the shot was required when a student was entering seventh grade.

“I think if the doctors think it’s a good idea, then I’m in favor for it,” said Van Magness.

So, what is a Tdap shot?

It prevents pertussis cases also known as the whooping cough. The state said they have seen an increase in the whooping cough.

“A few of my friends weren’t in school a few days in a row,” said Anna Magness.

Anna Magness is a seventh grader at Ramsey Junior High in Fort Smith.

“They’re kids. They don’t wash their hands like they should,] they don’t take care of themselves like we ask them to, so, it’s probably a good idea,” said Van Magness.

She and her mother support the change. In 2013, there were 466 cases of whooping cough in Arkansas.

The Health Department said students entering 7th grade will also need a meningococcal shot. The vaccine protects against meningococcal disease, which can be fatal.

The Health Department said the new vaccines take effect September 1.

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