Health District urges immunizations against Pertussis
The Delaware General Health District (DGHD) is working to protect as many local infants as possible from Pertussis, which has grown into an epidemic across the United States this year.
Also called Whooping Cough, Pertussis is a vaccine-preventable bacterial infection. It is known for the distinctive “whoop” sound that infected children emit during coughing spells.
“Newborns are at high risk for serious illness,” said Joyce Richmond R.N., Delaware General Health District Director of Nursing. “We need to get moms, dads and everyone in close contact with young children immunized against Pertussis. When you put a cocoon of immunization around babies, you can protect them from this disease.”
There have been 40 cases of Pertussis confirmed in the Delaware General Health District so far this year, which is in line with the local averages for the past three and five years. More than half of this year’s cases were children aged 5 to 14. Two of the reasons there are so many cases here and nationwide is that Pertussis immunizations are not 100 percent effective in all recipients, and the effectiveness decreases over time. However, Richmond said getting the immunization remains the best strategy to prevent the disease.
Richmond announced two new developments in the fight against Pertussis:
• A new recommendation that pregnant women should receive Pertussis immunizations after 20 weeks of pregnancy, if they had not been immunized earlier. Richmond said mothers immunized against Pertussis transfer maternal antibodies to their babies in the womb, possibly giving the newborn better protection against the disease. The new recommendation came from the nationwide Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and has been endorsed by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Women should discuss this with their doctor.
• New outreach by the local Health District encourages everyone to get a Pertussis immunization. The Health District is circulating pamphlets at child care centers, medical offices and other locations encouraging everyone age 10 and older — especially those in close contact with young children — to get the Tdap vaccine against Pertussis, Tetanus and Diphtheria.
The Delaware General Health District provides Tdap vaccine on a sliding fee scale which may reduce the cost to $0. Adult immunizations are provided every weekday morning from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at the Health District Clinic at 3 West Winter Street in downtown Delaware. Adult immunizations also are provided at Adult Walk-In Clinics at that location every Tuesday from 2 to 4 p.m. and the last Tuesday of each month from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Tdap also is available at all eight DGHD In your neighborhood sites, including the Sunbury United Methodist Church on the second Tuesday of each month from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. and the Genoa Township Community Hall on the third Wednesday of each month from 2 to 4 p.m.
For additional information phone the Health District Clinic at 740–203-2040.