SPOKANE, Wash. –  Sept 23, 2013 – Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD), in partnership with the Group Health Foundation, Providence Health & Services, and Washington State University College of Nursing, will soon hold several free immunization clinics throughout September and into October at the following locations: 

Location When Where What
North Pines Middle School Sept. 24 (5:00-7:00pm) 701 N Pines, Spokane Valley, 99206 Free vaccinations  
·         All Children (All vaccines)
·         Uninsured or Under-Insured Adults (Tdap only)
Group Health Riverfront Medical Center Sept. 28 (9:00am-12:00pm) 322 W North River Dr., Spokane, 99201 Free vaccinations  
·         Uninsured or Under-Insured Adults (Tdap only)
Sunset School Health Center Oct. 3 (5:00pm-7:00pm) 12824 W 12th /Ave., Bldg. C, Airway Heights, 99001

Free vaccinations
·         All Children (All vaccines)
·         Uninsured or Under-Insured Adults (Tdap only)

Providence Medical Group Urgent Care- South Division Oct. 5 (9:00am-12:00pm) 421 S Division St., Spokane, 99202 Free vaccinations  
·         Uninsured or Under-Insured Adults (Tdap only)
Providence Medical Group Urgent Care- Hawthorne Oct. 12 (9:00am-12:00pm) 551 E Hawthorne Rd., Spokane, 99218 Free vaccinations  
·         Uninsured or Under-Insured Adults (Tdap only)

The clinics are being offered as part of an expansion of the Group Health Foundation’s Silence Whooping Cough campaign to educate pregnant women and parents about the risks of whooping cough, or pertussis, and the need to protect themselves and their families. The health district is seizing the opportunity at two of the clinics, North Pines Middle School and Sunset School Health Center, to offer all vaccines for those children who may need to catch-up on recommended shots.
“In Spokane County, we continue to see preventable cases of whooping cough and other diseases circulate in our community,” said Dr. Joel McCullough, SRHD health officer. “Our worry is that these numbers are a reflection of our community questioning if they need really need some immunizations or not. When it comes to these diseases, especially when it comes to protecting newborns, vaccination really is the best protection.”
The whooping cough, or Tdap, vaccine is recommended for parents and siblings of young children, and caregivers that come into regular contact with young children. A new recommendation from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urges women to receive the Tdap vaccine between 27-36 weeks of every pregnancy to protect their newborns from the disease.
Specific to children, today’s vaccines protect against several serious and potentially life-threatening diseases, including polio, measles, and chickenpox. They also protect against whooping cough—at the peak of last year’s epidemic, in just the month of August, there were 47 new cases of whooping cough reported in Spokane County.
Infants and children need a series of five DTaP shots between eight weeks and four to six years of age for optimal protection. The protection provided by the childhood whooping cough vaccine series wears off over time, so everyone age 11 and older needs a whooping cough booster vaccine.
When children are not vaccinated, they are at increased risk of serious infections and can spread diseases to others in their classrooms and community – including babies who are too young to be fully vaccinated.
Mothers like Suzanne Bassett from Spokane, Wash., are all too familiar with the risks of whooping cough and the importance of vaccines. Bassett’s daughter, Abby, contracted whooping cough at just four weeks old and spent five weeks in the hospital, mostly in intensive care, before recovering and going home to her family.
“It was heartbreaking to watch Abby struggle to breathe,” said Bassett. “We know we could have lost her and consider ourselves lucky, but Abby still suffers from chronic lung issues. As a parent, I can’t stress enough how important it is to ensure anyone who comes in contact with your baby is up-to-date on the Tdap vaccine.”
Silence Whooping Cough is a public service campaign funded by the Group Health Foundation. The campaign provides information about whooping cough to the community through a website, social media, and educational materials. A new feature of the campaign allows participants to enter a contest to win a year’s supply of free diapers by going to the Silence Whooping Cough website and sending customizable e-postcards to friends and family to alert them to the importance of getting the Tdap vaccine. Pharmacists at Walgreens, a corporate partner of the campaign, will be promoting the contest at all Walgreens pharmacies in Washington state,
Whooping cough affects the lungs and respiratory system and spreads easily by coughing and sneezing. The infectious disease can be especially serious for infants and young children and can cause trouble breathing, eating, drinking, as well as sleeping, and in some cases can lead to pneumonia, seizures, brain damage and death.
Health officials encourage everyone to visit to learn more about the disease. More information about SRHD can be found at SRHD’s web site 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.