​​​​Tdap - Pertussis Vaccination

Tdap Vaccine Requirement:
To address the increase in pertussis cases among older students, a booster vaccination (called Tdap) is required for all students in grades six through twelve.

Protection against pertussis begins to wear off during grade school. This leaves pre-teens, teenagers and adults at risk for this illness. To address the increase in pertussis cases among older students, a booster vaccination (called Tdap) is recommended for all students in grades six through twelve.

Beginning fall of 2013, all students entering, transferring, or advancing into 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th or 12th grades will be required to show proof of receipt of one dose of Tdap vaccine (containing tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis). Most students may have already received the vaccine and simply need to provide the school with verifying documentation from the family health care provider.

Students in these grades without one of the following will be subject to exclusion:

Proof of Tdap vaccination An approved medical exemption on file with the school An appointment to receive the Tdap shot during the school year

Pertussis is easily transmitted through coughing and sneezing and may cause an illness that persists for weeks to months. Pertussis does not typically cause severe illness in healthy students, but can cause prolonged absences from school and extracurricular activities. In addition, pertussis can be transmitted from healthy students to infants and individuals with chronic illnesses, for whom pertussis can be life-threatening.

Frequently asked questions about the Tdap Vaccine Requirement for School Entry Illinois Department of Public Health

What is Tdap?
Tdap is a vaccine licensed and recommended to protect pre-teens, adolescents and adults against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough). Tdap is licensed for routine use on or after the 10th birthday.

What type of documentation of Tdap vaccination* is needed to meet the new requirements?
The following documents will be accepted:

  • Note or letter, signed by physician
  • Print-out from provider’s electronic medical record system
  • Certificate of Child Health Examination, specifying exact date of Tdap shot.

Note: exact date of Tdap vaccination is required when providing Tdap documentation.

What if my child had whooping cough recently or in the past?
Any protection (immunity) developed after having whooping cough wears off, leaving your child at risk for getting whooping cough again. Tdap is needed to protect your child in the future and to meet the school requirement.

Instead of getting a Tdap vaccine booster to meet the new requirement, can a student get a blood test to test for protection (immunity) against whooping cough?
No. Testing for immunity is not reliable and will not meet the new school requirement.

How long do you have to wait after your last tetanus vaccine before getting Tdap?
Tdap may be given at any time after the last tetanus vaccine.

Where can my child receive Tdap vaccination?
Children should visit their regular health care provider to get Tdap and other recommended vaccines as soon as possible. Many providers and most local health departments provide Tdap vaccinations. Uninsured or underinsured students can receive Tdap vaccine through a federally qualified health centers. In addition, pharmacies can provide Tdap vaccine to children 14 years of age and older. If you need assistance, please check with your local health department for resources for getting required Tdap vaccinations.

​Should other students, teachers, school staff and family members also get the Tdap vaccine?
Although school staff and parents are not required to receive the Tdap vaccine, the Illinois Department of Public Health recommends that all persons 10 years of age and older get vaccinated with Tdap to protect against the ongoing threat of whooping cough. Immunization also helps to protect close contacts, including young infants for whom whooping cough is most severe and sometimes fatal.

* Pediatric DTaP or DTP is only licensed for use in persons less than 7 years of age, but may be accepted if inadvertently administered to students aged 7 and older. Receipt of Td (brand name DECAVAC or TENIVAC) or DT does not meet the new school Tdap requirement because they do not protect against pertussis.

Resources & Links

Our Pertussis Info Page

Tdap FAQs in a printable pdf
CDC Pertussis Page
IDPH Pertussis Page
Communicable Disease Main Page