MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- Alabama health officials say most students entering the sixth grade this year will have to get a vaccination to protect them against whooping cough.
The Montgomery Advertiser reports the state health department says the tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis, or Tdap, vaccine will be required for students entering the sixth grade who are 11 and older.
Pertussis, a bacterial disease also known as whooping cough, is highly contagious and can be fatal.
Students entering the seventh, eighth and ninth grades during the upcoming school year will also have to have the vaccination if they didn't get it during the past school year.
There were 212 cases of pertussis in Alabama last year and 205 the year before. During the first six months of this year, 73 cases have been reported.