HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov. 18, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Karen Murphy today announced the department has concluded its clinics to vaccinate residents for pertussis, or whooping cough, in the Chambersburg/Shippensburg areas of Cumberland and Franklin counties.
"Over the course of one week, more than 1,100 residents received Tdap vaccinations to protect against the spread of whooping cough," said Secretary Murphy. "I want to thank the community for helping us get the word out about prevention and vaccination. Getting a Tdap vaccine only takes a second, but is the most effective and easiest way to prevent pertussis."
Clinics were held November 11, November 15, and November 16 at Chambersburg Area High School, and November 17 at Shippensburg Area High School. More than 1,400 people attended the clinics, with 1,105 receiving vaccinations and 323 up to date on their immunizations.
"If you weren't able to attend a clinic, there are still options for you to get a vaccine," said Secretary Murphy. "If you are uninsured or underinsured, you can visit your local state health center for a vaccination. Tdap vaccines are also available from your family doctor and are often covered by insurance."
To date, 51 cases of pertussis have been confirmed in the Chambersburg/Shippensburg areas of Cumberland and Franklin counties.
Pertussis is an infection of the respiratory system that is characterized by severe coughing spells that end in a "whooping" sound when the person breathes in. The first symptoms of whooping cough are similar to those of a common cold including runny nose, sneezing, mild cough, and low-grade fever. After about one to two weeks, the dry, irritating cough evolves into coughing spells that can last for more than one minute and can lead to vomiting. It can be very dangerous, and even deadly, for infants who are not old enough to be vaccinated.
The pertussis vaccine is recommended for children to enter school. Because immunity from the vaccine fades over time, most adolescents and adults are susceptible to the disease. In addition to the typical childhood series of pertussis immunizations at 2, 4, 6, 15-18 months, and a booster at 4-6 years, the department recommends the adolescent-adult pertussis vaccine, tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis, or Tdap, booster for:
- Individuals 10-64 years of age who are not fully immunized;
- Pregnant women during each pregnancy, preferably between 27 and 36 weeks gestation. Women who have never received Tdap and who do not receive it during pregnancy should receive it immediately postpartum;
- People who have contact with pregnant women or infants too young to have received a full series of vaccinations; and
- All family members and caregivers of infants who are not old enough to get vaccinated against pertussis.
For more information, visit www.vaccinesforlife.com or call 1-877-PA-HEALTH.
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health