School-required vaccines to be given free Sept. 22 by the Health Department

WESTOVER — The Somerset County Health Department will hold a mass vaccination clinic Saturday, Aug. 22, from 9:00 a.m. to noon to give the required vaccinations for free to 5 year old children, and first, seventh and eighth graders who will be attending Somerset County Schools this fall.


By law, all students entering the seventh and eighth grades will need proof of a pertussis (whooping cough) booster immunization, called “Tdap”, and a meningococcal (meningitis) vaccination, and 5 year old children and first graders who are starting school will need proof of a second varicella vaccination.


Tdap is a booster vaccine for older children, adolescents, and adults. It safely protects against 3 dangerous diseases: tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (also called whooping cough). Pertussis is a contagious disease

that causes violent coughing fits that make it hard to breathe. It spreads easily when someone with the disease coughs or sneezes. The cough can last for months. Pertussis is particularly dangerous for young babies. Tetanus causes a severe, painful tightening (spasms) of muscles, including of the jaw (“lockjaw”), which can limit swallowing and breathing. Diphtheria is a throat infection that can lead to breathing problems, paralysis, heart failure and death.


Meningococcal disease is a serious bacterial illness. It is a leading cause of bacterial meningitis in children 2 through 18 years old in the United States. Meningitis is an infection of the covering of the brain and the spinal cord.


Varicella-zoster virus (VZV), also known as chickenpox, used to be a common illness among kids in the United States, particularly among those under age 12. Chickenpox is very contagious, so an infected child should stay home and rest until the rash is gone. Kids can be protected from VZV by getting the chickenpox (varicella) vaccine.

The vaccinations will be given by appointment only and you must present a current shot record at the time of the appointment. Call 443-523-1740 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

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