Protect your children from vaccine-preventable illness including whooping cough

Protect your children from vaccine-preventable illness including whooping cough

Aug 14, 2012

For more information, contact Kim Papich, SRHD Public Information Officer (509) 324-1539

SPOKANE, Wash. – Aug 14, 2012 – To the dismay of many area children, the end of summer break is right around the corner, which means it’s time to get ready for school. And with whooping cough numbers at epidemic levels, at the top of every parent’s back-to-school list should be ensuring children are fully immunized.

Whooping cough continues at high levels in Spokane County. To date in 2012, there are 134 cases locally—including those that are confirmed, as well as those under investigation—compared to just seven cases during the same period last year.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011 also proved to be the worst measles year in the United States in 15 years. There were also outbreaks of chickenpox and influenza in the region.

Childhood vaccination is the most effective way to protect children against serious, preventable illnesses — some of which have no cure or treatment. Parents should use the next several weeks to ensure kids have all the immunizations they need.

"Buying new shoes, hunting down school supplies—important steps to prepare for the new school year—but getting your kids immunized should be considered first and foremost on your list,” said Dr. Joel McCullough, health officer for the Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD). "Be sure kids’ immunizations are up-to-date — it protects them, their classmates, their families and our community."

Several immunizations are required before your child may attend school or child care. Children who are not up-to-date on their immunizations may be required to stay home for an extended period of time (21 days or more) if there is a disease outbreak.

Parents should check with their children’s health care provider to determine if they are up-to-date. They can also schedule their kids’ immunizations with the Spokane Regional Health District by calling the Public Health Clinic at (509) 324-1600. The clinic, in addition to numerous health care providers and local pharmacies, also offers whooping cough shots. Click here to see a list of locations offering whooping cough shots that also bill insurance.

For members of the public who do not have insurance or whose insurance does not cover the shot, the clinic offers low-cost state-donated vaccine for adults 19 and over. The associated $15.60 fee will be waived if the patient is unable to pay. Click here to see a list of locations also offering low-cost, state-donated vaccine for adults. 

For more information about childhood immunizations or Spokane’s whooping cough epidemic, please visit 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.