A new regulation requires all seventh-graders in South Carolina have booster shots for the vaccination for tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough.
Most infants get the vaccination, called Tdap, but the protection “fades with time, and by 10, the effectiveness of the original vaccine can decrease,” said Dr. Riyadh Muhammad, pediatrician and medical consultant for the stated Department of Health and Environmental Control.
DHEC is putting on free vaccine clinics all over the state in the coming weeks to make it easier for parents to get their kids vaccinated. All seventh-graders need proof of Tdap booster shots before beginning school this August. The health department estimates about 36,000 of the 60,000 students entering seventh grade have up-to-date Tdap protection because they’ve been given booster shots in recent years. That means about 24,000 still need the shots before school starts.
The booster also is recommended for pregnant women and people who spend time around babies less than 12 months old, and those groups will be welcome at the free vaccine events.
Most of the events are at county health departments, but the Columbia session will be Saturday, Aug. 10 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the State Fairgrounds. Others in the Midlands include: Aug. 3, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., at the Newberry Health Department, 2111 Wilson Road, Newberry; Aug. 7, 1-6:30 p.m. at the Sumter Health Department, 105 N. Magnolia St., Sumter; Aug. 17, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Fairfield Health Department, 1136 Kincaid Bridge Road, Winnsboro; Aug. 17, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., at the Lexington Health Department, 1070 B South Lake Dr., Lexington; Aug 17, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Kershaw Health Department, 1116 Church St., Camden.
The full list of clinic sites and times is online at http://www.scdhec.gov/ health/disease/ immunization/tdap_ clinics.htm.