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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, May 11, 2012
Dr. Diana Yu, Health Officer, Thurston County Public Health & Social Services Department, 360-867-2501
Mary Ann O’Garro, Epidemiologist,  Public Health & Social Services, 360-867-2525

May 19 Adult Whooping Cough Immunization Clinic

A public Whooping Cough Immunization Clinic for adults who care for infants will be held Saturday, May 19 from 9:00 am-12:00 pm at the Thurston County Health Department, 412 Lilly Road NE, Olympia. The clinic is for adults who care for infants, 12 months old or younger,who have no health insurance or whose insurance does not cover whooping cough vaccine. Caregivers include mothers, fathers, adult relatives and child care providers. Teenage caregivers are welcome. There will be no charge for the adult whooping cough vaccine called Tdap. You should get vaccinated if you are unsure whether you had whooping cough vaccine as an adult.

There is a limited supply of no cost vaccine. If you can be immunized by your health care provider or afford to go to a local pharmacy, please use those resources. There is no shortage of whooping cough vaccine in the county. A list of pharmacies that provide immunizations for adults and children can be found at www.co.thurston.wa.us/health.

The Health Department is targeting the clinic to caregivers of infants because infants are at highest risk for complications from whooping cough. Infants who get whooping cough, also called Pertussis, can experience difficulty breathing, pneumonia, convulsions, and even death. Whooping cough is most often passed on to infants by infected adults who do not have up-to-date vaccinations. The clinic is sponsored by Thurston County Public Health and Social Services Department and the Thurston County Medical Reserve Corps.

Whooping cough vaccine prevents the illness. The vaccine will not give you whooping cough. Having had whooping cough in the past does not protect you from getting the disease again. Immunity becomes less over time, so children and adults who were immunized for whooping cough in the past may become ill with the disease. Making sure you are up-to-date on your whooping cough vaccination is important.

If you are sick with a cough stay away from pregnant women, infants and young children. Cough into your sleeve or cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough and sneeze. Dispose of tissues in a covered container and wash your hands. If you or someone in your family has a severe cough that causes vomiting or difficulty breathing, please call your health care provider. The only sure way to know if you have whooping cough is to be tested for it. Whooping cough is a highly contagious bacterial infection. It is spread through face-to-face contact with someone who is sick with the disease. The disease goes from person to person through tiny drops of fluid from an infected person's nose or mouth. These drops may become airborne when the person sneezes or coughs. People can become infected by breathing in the drops or getting the drops on their hands and then touching their mouth or nose.

Whooping cough vaccine for adults and children is currently available in Thurston County, there is no shortage. County residents can get immunized by visiting their health care provider or local pharmacies. Whooping cough vaccine is part of the regular schedule of recommended vaccines for children, and keeping your child up-to-date remains important. The whooping cough vaccine used for infants and children is called Dtap. Please check with your health care provider to see if your whooping cough vaccination is current.

Washington state is currently experiencing a whooping cough outbreak and the number of cases continues to increase. There have been 12 confirmed cases of whooping cough in Thurston County since the start of 2012 with those sick being between four months to 57 years old. As more adult vaccine arrives for the uninsured, we will continue to look for ways to distribute it quickly to help interrupt the spread of whooping cough.

More information about whooping cough and the public immunization clinic is available on our website www.co.thurston.wa.us/health and at our Public Information Line 360-709-3080.


County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3