Maine Intensifies Fight Against Whooping Cough With New Vaccine Mandate
PORTLAND, Maine - Maine health officials continue to combat the state's high rate of whooping cough with the new vaccine mandate.
The Portland Press Herald reports that the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention is requiring incoming seventh-grade public school students to receive a second dose of Tdap, a vaccine that protects against tetanus, pertussis and diphtheria. Maine has one of the highest rates of pertussis - a contagious respiratory disease - in the country.
The Maine Department of Health and Human Services expects pertussis rates to decrease in the coming years because of the mandate. Officials say school nurses are working to ensure students are vaccinated and records updated.
Efforts have been hindered by parents who opt out of vaccination. However, officials believe stricter standards will help the general population.