Arkansas board advancing school-vaccine changes

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Arkansas Board of Health is seeking public comment on new rules that would lower the age for some immunizations required for children to attend school.

A Tdap — or tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis — vaccination is now required for students before seventh grade. The new rules under consideration would change that to the age of 11.

The Arkansas Department of Health says whooping cough — also known as pertussis — is on the rise among children who are 9, 10 and 11 years old. In 2011, Arkansas had 80 whooping cough cases. Last year, the state recorded 466 cases of the disease — a 482.5 percent increase.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports (http://bit.ly/1k0Lv7i ) the board hopes to approve the rules in July, making them go into effect on Sept. 1.

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Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com

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