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IA 7th Graders Must Get Booster Shots
CEDAR RAPIDS (CBS 2/ FOX 28)--Besides the typical notebooks, binders and pencils, Iowa students will need something extra this school year.
"The immunizations are a requirement for heading back to school," said Julie Jensen, executive director of Linn Mar Community School Districts student services.
Booster shots protecting kids against pertussis or whooping cough are now required by law for students starting the seventh grade.
"When they're about 11, 12, 13 they no longer have any protection form pertussis, said Heather Meador a nurse at Linn County Public Health.
That's because the booster shot that most people get as babies wears off after 10 years.
"It just passes so easily from one person to another person to another person, Meador said.
Case in point, the number of people in Iowa with whopping cough grew more than 400 percent from 2011 to 2012.
A staggering number, Linn Mar school officials want to keep out of their hallways.
"We sent letters home with their reports cards at the end of the school year," Jensen said.
They also used the school district's website to post information about where students can get the shot.
School officials say they've been teaching students daily ways they could incorporate hygiene and cleanliness into their routines.
"We've worked hard on the hand washing with kids, the coughing in the sleeve," Jensen said.
But even so, public health officials say with how fast the bacteria spreads, soap and water aren't enough.
"It (the shot) should keep are kids healthy and well, Meador said.