Department of Health to Hold Whooping Cough Vaccination Clinic in Indiana County
Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine announced that the department will conduct a walk-in vaccination clinic at the Indiana County State Health Center, 75 North 2nd Street, Indiana, PA 15701 on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019 from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. in response to an ongoing whooping cough outbreak. There is no charge for the immunization. To qualify, you must be 10 years of age or older and have no record of receiving the Tdap immunization.
“Pertussis, or whooping cough, is a very contagious and serious disease of the respiratory system,” Dr. Levine said. “However, whooping cough is preventable with a vaccination, which is why we encourage everyone to be vaccinated. We are holding this clinic in order to help ensure that the entire community is protected from this disease, which can be fatal, particularly in infants.”
To date, 45 confirmed or probable cases of pertussis have been reported in school districts in Indiana County, with additional cases under investigation.
Pertussis is an infection of the respiratory system that is characterized by severe coughing spells that end in a “whooping” sound when the person breathes in. The first symptoms of whooping cough are similar to those of a common cold including runny nose, sneezing, mild cough, and low-grade fever. After about one to two weeks, the dry, irritating cough evolves into coughing spells that can last for more than one minute and can lead to vomiting. It can be very dangerous, and even deadly, for infants who are not old enough to be vaccinated.
The pertussis vaccine is recommended for children to enter school. Because immunity from the vaccine fades over time, most adolescents and adults are susceptible to the disease. In addition to the typical childhood series of pertussis immunizations at 2, 4, 6, and 15-18 months, and a booster at 4-6 years, the department recommends the adolescent/adult pertussis vaccine, tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis, or Tdap, booster for:
- Individuals 10-64 years of age who are not fully immunized;
- Pregnant women during each pregnancy, preferably between 27 and 36 weeks gestation. Women who have never received Tdap and who do not receive it during pregnancy should receive it immediately postpartum;
- People who have contact with pregnant women or infants too young to have received a full series of vaccinations; and
- All family members and caregivers of infants who are not old enough to get vaccinated against pertussis.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health urges everyone to stay up-to-date on their vaccines.