Health District Still Urging Vaccinations
For more information, contact Kim Papich, SRHD Public Information Officer, (509) 324-1539
SPOKANE, Wash. – July 12, 2012 – On the heels of the Washington State Department of Health’s (DOH) announcement today that it will order an additional 14,000 doses of whooping cough vaccine for uninsured adults, Spokane Regional Health District is reminding residents that several local clinics and pharmacies offer the low-cost vaccine for people without health insurance or who cannot afford to pay.
Whooping cough continues at high levels in Spokane County and vaccine is the best protection against the disease. To date in 2012, there are 93 cases locally—including those that are confirmed, as well as those under investigation—compared to just six cases during the same period last year.
The epidemic is up to 2,883 reported cases statewide and remains active. The state secretary of health declared an epidemic April 3.
Over the past two months, Spokane Regional Health District received almost 2,000 doses of state-donated whooping cough vaccine as part DOH’s original purchase of 27,000 doses for uninsured adults statewide. In addition to distributing the vaccine to several local providers and pharmacies to administer, the health district also offers the low-cost vaccine in its Public Health Clinic, (509) 324-1600. These locations may charge a fee up to $15.60 to give the vaccine, but financial assistance is available for those who cannot pay. Click here to see a list of locations also offering low-cost, state-donated vaccine for adults. There is still sufficient supply of state-donated vaccine in Spokane County.
For residents whose insurance covers whooping cough shots, vaccinations are available at locations throughout Spokane County including health care provider offices, local pharmacies and the SRHD Public Health Clinic. Click here to see a list of locations offering Tdap that also bill insurance.
Getting vaccinated helps protect the person who gets immunized while also protecting others from disease, including infants who most often catch the illness from a relative. Babies under two months are too young to get vaccinated and are at high risk for serious illness. This year there have been five infants hospitalized for whooping cough locally. No deaths have been reported.
Protection provided by the childhood whooping cough vaccine series decreases in effectiveness over time, so teens and adults need a booster. People whose vaccine protection loses effectiveness may get whooping cough, but usually have less severe symptoms, shorter illnesses, and are less likely to spread the disease to others. Adults who are not sure if they have had the Tdap booster should check with their health care provider.
While vaccination is the best protection, there are other effective ways to reduce the spread of pertussis. It is important for anyone with a cough to stay home when they are sick, wash their hands often, and go to the doctor for a prolonged cough. People diagnosed with whooping cough should stay away from babies, and stay home from work, school, and other activities until they’ve finished five days of antibiotics or until at least three weeks after the cough started.
Because pertussis in its early stages appears similar to a common cold, it is often not suspected or diagnosed until the more severe symptoms appear. Infected people are most contagious during this time, up to about 2 weeks after the cough begins. Anyone who has been in close contact with someone known to have whooping cough should talk to their health care provider.
For more information about whooping cough (pertussis) and where to get vaccine, visit srhd.org/whoopingcough. More information can also be found at www.srhd.org. SRHD’s website offers comprehensive, updated information about Spokane Regional Health District and its triumphs in making Spokane a safer and healthier community. Become a fan of SRHD on Facebook to receive local safety and wellness tips. You can also follow us on Twitter @spokanehealth.