Free whooping cough vaccines available April 21
SNOHOMISH COUNTY - Adults can get a free whooping cough vaccine shot from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, April 21 at Pacific Medical Center Lynnwood, 19401 40th Ave. W., Suite 230. Walk-ins are welcome, but appointments are recommended by calling 425-339-8694 between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Thursday, April 19.
This special access to pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine is part of the Snohomish Health District’s ongoing fight with an epidemic of the illness in Snohomish County. The health district will provide about 250 adult doses of pertussis vaccine made available through the AmeriCares patient assistance program. Three previous free clinics in the county vaccinated a total of 868 adults.
Snohomish Health District continues to encourage all adults — especially those who have contact with infants — to get vaccinated against this preventable disease. People of all ages need booster shots to maintain their immunity, and most adults aren’t up to date on their shots. A single shot known as “Tdap” prevents tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis.
Whooping cough is a highly contagious respiratory disease that is particularly harmful to infants, who have no immunity. Children and adults become sick enough to miss school and work for several days and up to two weeks.
Last week the state Department of Health announced whooping cough has reached epidemic levels in much of the state. Snohomish County health officials have already said the highly contagious respiratory disease has reached epidemic levels in the county.
So far in 2012, 640 cases have been reported in 23 counties as of March 31, according to the DOH. This compares to 94 cases during this same time period last year, putting Washington on pace to have the highest number of reported cases in decades. Whooping cough vaccines are recommended for all children and adults.
As of March 30, Snohomish Health District has confirmed 200 reports of whooping cough in 2012, although most cases go unreported, especially in adults.
By TRIBUNE STAFF
Published April 11, 2012