Category Archives: Pertussis

Are vaccinations ‘Everybody’s Business’? – documentary and discussion


A community conversation sponsored by the Northwest Biomedical Research Association

Are Vaccinations ‘Everybody’s Business?’

Discussion of the locally-made documentary, “Everybody’s Business,” by Laura Green, which examines the small, tight-knit community of Vashon Island that has become a reluctant poster child for the growing debate around childhood vaccinations. This portrait of an island community digs beneath the surface to investigate the tensions between individual choices and collective responsibilities.

Tuesday night’s conversation will be facilitated by Dr. Doug Opel, Seattle Children’s Research Institute.

December 9, 2014
From 5:45pm to 7:45pm

Macao Chocolate+Coffee
415 Westlake Ave N.
Seattle, WA 98109


Vaccination rates lower among US adults born abroad


Vaccine SquareBy Milly Dawson
Health Behavior News Service

Nationality at birth appears to play a significant role in whether or not adults in the United States are routinely vaccinated for preventable diseases, a new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine finds, reflecting a risky medical lapse for more than one in ten people nationwide.

Foreign-born adult U.S. residents, who make up about 13 percent of the population, receive vaccinations at significantly lower rates than U.S.-born adults.

Foreign-born adult U.S. residents make up about 13 percent of the population.

This gap poses special risks for certain groups of people who are vulnerable to many serious and sometimes deadly diseases that vaccines can prevent.

The study’s lead author, Peng-Jun Lu, MD, PhD, a researcher at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, noted the rise in the foreign-born population in the United States, which stood at only five percent in 1970.

“As their numbers continue to rise, it will become increasingly important to consider this group in our efforts to increase vaccination and eliminate coverage disparities,” he said. Continue reading


Immunization rates for Washington kids improve over last year


From the Washington State Department of Health

child wincing while be given a shot injectionImmunization rates for Washington toddlers have improved from last year, according to the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Immunization Survey.

The survey says 71 percent of kids under three years old in Washington got a series of recommended vaccines in 2013.

The state’s rate for the same series of vaccines in 2012 was 65 percent.

Pertussis vaccination still low and concerning in light of recent epidemic

Although rates have improved, they’re still below the Healthy People 2020 goal of 80 percent, leaving many kids unprotected.

For all vaccines counted, rates increased across the board except for DTaP, the vaccine that prevents pertussis (whooping cough).

This is especially concerning because of our state’s whooping cough epidemic in 2012. Continue reading


State’s whooping cough epidemic did not boost vaccination rates


child wincing while be given a shot injectionExperts have long believed that when the risk of a disease is high, people are more likely to accept a vaccine to prevent that disease. But recent research suggests that might not be uniformly true. Dr. Elizabeth Wolf, an investigator in Seattle Children’s Research Institute’s Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development, led a study that determined Washington’s recent pertussis (whooping cough) epidemic did not influence the number of infants who were vaccinated against the disease.

via Infectious Disease Epidemics May Not Influence Vaccination Rates.


Washington teens getting their whooping cough immunizations; HPV vaccinations lag


From the Washington State Department of Health

Vaccination_of_girlImmunization rates for Washington teens improved for some vaccines, while holding steady for others, according to a new national study.

In 2012, 86 percent of teens aged 13–17 in our state got a Tdap booster, according to the National Immunization Survey. That’s up from 75 percent in 2011 and tops the national goal of 80 percent.

Tdap is the vaccine that protects against tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough (pertussis). The increase is welcome news following the recent whooping cough epidemic in Washington.

“We’re delighted that more teens in our state are protected against whooping cough,” said State Health Officer Dr. Maxine Hayes. “Older kids and teens often spread the disease to babies without knowing it. That’s why it’s so important for teens to get a dose of the Tdap vaccine.”

Over the last couple years, more teen girls are getting all three doses of the HPV vaccine, but fewer are getting the initial shot. About 43.5 percent of Washington girls 13 to 17 received the recommended three doses of the vaccine, up 3.5 percent from 2011.

Yet, only 64.5 percent of girls in the same age group got one dose of the HPV vaccine, a 2 percent decrease over the same time.

In 2012, nearly 15 percent of Washington boys aged 13–17 got the first HPV vaccine dose, up 6 percent from 2011. HPV vaccine was originally licensed only for girls and was made available to boys in October 2011.

This, plus a lack of knowledge by health care professionals and parents on the need and recommendation to vaccinate boys, may be why the rate for boys is lower than girls.

HPV vaccinations are recommended for girls and boys to protect against cervical cancer, genital warts and other types of oral and anal cancers.

Health care professionals should talk with parents about the importance of all kids getting HPV vaccinations starting at age 11 and 12. Kids in this age group have a stronger immune response compared to older kids.

“Parents want what’s best for their kids and want them to live happy, healthy lives,” Hayes said. “They can lower their children’s risk for HPV or cancer by getting them vaccinated.”

Nearly all sexually-active men and women will get at least one type of HPV at some point in their lives. HPV is most common in people in their teens and early 20s. That’s why it’s important for kids to get vaccinated before they start having sex. The vaccine doesn’t protect against any HPV strains someone already has.

Our state’s vaccination rate for two or more doses of chickenpox vaccine rose 8 percent in 2012. The rate for one dose of meningococcal vaccine rose slightly, from 69.4 percent in 2012 to 71.2 percent in 2011.

No-cost vaccines are available to kids up to 19-years-old through health care providers who participate in the state’s Childhood Vaccine Program.

Participating health care providers may charge for the office visit and an administration fee to give the vaccine. People who can’t afford the administration fee can ask for it to be waived.

For help finding a health care provider or an immunization clinic, call your local health agency or the WithinReach Family Health Hotline at 1-800-322-2588.



Tips for a less stressful shot visit – CDC


child wincing while be given a shot injection

Making the choice to vaccinate your child is vital for their health and well-being. Even so, getting shots can still be stressful for you and your little one. Fortunately, there are simple ways you can support your child before, during, and after shots.

Before Getting Shots

Come prepared! Take these steps before your child gets a shot to help make the immunization visit less stressful on you both.

Help children see vaccines as a good thing. Never threaten your child with shots, by saying “If you misbehave I will have the nurse give you a shot.” Instead, remind children that vaccines can keep them healthy.

Ways to soothe your baby:

  • Swaddling
  • Skin-to-skin contact
  • Offering a sweet beverage, like juice (when the child is older than 6 months)
  • Breastfeeding

Your health care professional may cool or numb the injection site to reduce the pain associated with your child’s shots.

  • Read any vaccine materials you received from your child’s health care professional and write down any questions you may have.
  • Find your child’s personal immunization record and bring it to your appointment. An up-to-date record tells your doctor exactly what shots your child has already received.
  • Pack a favorite toy or book, and a blanket that your child uses regularly to comfort your child.

For older children

  • Be honest with your child. Explain that shots can pinch or sting, but that it won’t hurt for long.
  • Engage other family members, especially older siblings, to support your child.
  • Avoid telling scary stories or making threats about shots.

At the Doctor’s Office

If you have questions about immunizations, ask your child’s doctor or nurse. Before you leave the appointment, ask your child’s doctor for advice on using non-aspirin pain reliever and other steps you can take at home to comfort your child.

Try these ideas for making the shots easier on your child.

  • Distract and comfort your child by cuddling, singing, or talking softly.
  • Smile and make eye contact with your child. Let your child know that everything is ok.
  • Comfort your child with a favorite toy or book. A blanket that smells familiar will help your child feel more comfortable.
  • Hold your child firmly on your lap, whenever possible.

For older children

Remember to schedule your next visit! Staying current with your child’s immunizations provides the best protection against disease.

  • Take deep breaths with your child to help “blow out” the pain.
  • Point out interesting things in the room to help create distractions.
  • Tell or read stories.
  • Support your child if he or she cries. Never scold a child for not “being brave.”

Once your child has received all of the shots, be especially supportive. Hold, cuddle, and, for infants, breastfeed or offer a bottle. A soothing voice, combined with praise and hugs will help reassure your child that everything is ok.

Take a moment to read the Vaccine Information Sheet your health care professional gives you during your visit. This sheet has helpful information and describes possible side effects your child may experience.

After the Shots

Sometimes children experience mild reactions from vaccines, such as pain at the injection site, a rash or a fever. These reactions are normal and will soon go away. The following tips will help you identify and minimize mild side effects.

  • Review any information your doctor gives you about the shots, especially the Vaccine Information Statements or other sheets that outline which side effects might be expected.
  • Use a cool, wet cloth to reduce redness, soreness, and swelling in the place where the shot was given.
  • Reduce any fever with a cool sponge bath. If your doctor approves, give non-aspirin pain reliever.
  • Give your child lots of liquid. It’s normal for some children to eat less during the 24 hours after getting vaccines.
  • Pay extra attention to your child for a few days. If you see something that concerns you, call your doctor.

Teens missing recommended vaccines, Seattle study finds



By Sharyn Alden, HBNS Contributing Writer
Research Source: Journal of Adolescent Health

‘Health care providers are missing opportunities to improve teens’ vaccination coverage, reports a new study in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Recommendations for routine vaccination of meningococcal (MCV), tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis (Tdap) and human papillomavirus (HPV) in adolescents are fairly new and many parents may be unaware of the need for adolescent vaccines.

“Our study found that when adolescents who are vaccine-eligible come to their health care provider for preventive visits, there are missed opportunities for vaccination. Adolescents who come in for non-preventive visits have even greater missed opportunities,” said lead author Rachel A. Katzenellenbogen, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Hospital.

“Our data found that adolescents who have an appointment come into their health care provider’s office and leave without receiving all three recommended vaccines—Tdap, HPV and MCV,” Katzenellenbogen said.

Adolescents need fewer preventive care visits than infants and are a relatively new population to be targeted for vaccination when compared to infants and children, she explained.

Katzenellenbogen and her colleagues analyzed vaccination rates for 1,628 adolescents aged 11- 18 with 9,180 visits to health care providers between 2006 and 2011.

All of the teens in the study were seen at a pediatric clinic in Seattle. During that time frame, 82 percent missed being vaccinated against MCV, 85 percent missed Tdap and 82 percent missed the first dose of HPV1.

“If parents know to expect that their adolescent should receive three vaccines when they turn 11 or 12, they may be more likely to schedule a preventive visit or bring up vaccination with their child’s health care provider during any office visit,” commented Kristen A. Feemster, M.D., assistant professor in the division of infectious diseases at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

Feemster said she was not surprised that missed opportunities occur because there are many challenges to implanting adolescent vaccine recommendations. “It is more challenging, for example, to establish eligibility for adolescent vaccines—many registries do not yet reliably capture adolescent vaccination.  Providers may have questions or concerns about the recommended schedule, plus adolescents may seek care in alternative locations where it is particularly difficult to establish eligibility.”

The researchers suggest that improved vaccine tracking and screening systems, such as provider prompts through electronic health records or manual flags by nurses or medical assistants, would enable providers to more easily identify those teenagers eligible for vaccines at all visit types.

Health Behavior News Service is part of the Center for Advancing Health

The Health Behavior News Service disseminates news stories on the latest findings from peer-reviewed research journals. HBNS covers both new studies and systematic reviews of studies on (1) the effects of behavior on health, (2) health disparities data and (3) patient engagement research. The goal of HBNS stories is to present the facts for readers to understand and use for themselves to make informed choices about health and health care.


Snohomish parents get a B+ for kids’ back-to-school shots


child wincing while be given a shot injectionFrom Snohomish Health District 

More 5 and 6 year olds in Snohomish County had all the vaccines they needed to enter school last year, according to recent data released by the state Department of Health.

For the 2012-2013 school year, 86.3 percent of local kindergarteners were up to date on their shots, better than past years and higher than the state average of 85.6 percent

Vaccines are required for school children because they prevent disease in a community setting. The rate of vaccination has continued to climb since an all-time low in 2008-2009.

School districts report vaccination rates to the state. The highest immunization rates for all grades (K-12) in Snohomish County last school year were in Lakewood (94.8%) and Everett (94.7%) school districts.

A small percentage of families seek exemption from the vaccination requirement, an average of 5.3 percent in Snohomish County schools compared to 4.5 percent statewide for children entering kindergarten.

In 2011 the process for parents or guardians to exempt their child from school or child care immunization requirements was changed.

Parents need to see a medical provider to get a signature on the Certificate of Exemption form for their child’s school. 

More information about the form and the law is available online at

Although exemptions are allowed for medical, religious, or personal reasons, the best disease protection is to make sure children have all their recommended immunizations.

Children may be sent home from school, preschool, or child care during outbreaks of diseases if they have not been immunized.

Summer is a good time to make sure your children are up to date on required shots. The cost of childhood vaccines is subsidized by federal and state government so that every parent can choose to have their child protected without regard to cost.

Required childhood vaccines are available for the school year 2013-2014.

 Two doses of chickenpox (varicella) vaccine or doctor-verified history of disease is required for age kindergarten through grade 5. Students in grade 6 are required to have one dose of varicella or parental history of disease.

 The whooping cough (pertussis) vaccine, Tdap, is required for students in grades 6-12 who are 11 years and older.

Recommended vaccines also are available.

 Varicella vaccine for children in grades 7-12 who have never had chickenpox.

 Meningococcavaccine for adolescents age 11-12. A second (booster) dose at age 16-18 if first dose was given at ages 11-15.

 A three-shot series of human papillomavirus (HPV) for both adolescent boys and girls age 11 and older.

 Children 12 months and older should receive hepatitis A vaccine, a two-shot series.

 Flu vaccine for all people age 6 months and older.

Snohomish Health District promotes routine vaccination of children and adults.

Snohomish Health District’s Immunization Clinic will serve you if your family does not have a health care provider. A visit to a Health District clinic includes a check of your child’s record in the Washington Immunization Information System, the state’s immunization registry.

Parents should beat the rush by making appointments now with their child’s health care provider. At the Health District, parents can make an appointment during normal clinic hours at either the Lynnwood or Everett office.

A parent or legal guardian must accompany a child to the clinic, and must bring a complete record of the child’s immunizations. 

You need to fill out a Snohomish Health District authorization form to have another person bring your child to the clinic. Ask the clinic staff to mail or fax a form to you.

Health District clinics request payment on the day of service in cash, check, debit, or credit card. Medical coupons are accepted, but private insurance is not.

The cost can include an office visit fee, plus an administration fee per vaccine. Reduced fees are available by filling out a request based on household size and income.

Teens also occasionally require travel vaccines for out-of-country mission work or community service. The Health District offers those immunizations and health advice for traveling in foreign countries.

Please call if you have questions, concerns or to schedule an appointment: SHD Immunization Clinic 425.339.5220.

Back-to-school shots hours:

SHD Everett Immunization Clinic, 3020 Rucker Ave, Suite 108, Everett, WA 98201


By appointment: 8 a.m.-noon and 1-4 p.m. Monday-Wednesday-Friday

SHD Lynnwood Immunization Clinic, 6101 200th Ave SW, Lynnwood, WA 98036


By appointment: 8 a.m.-noon and 1-4 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday

NOTE: Both clinics will be closed on weekends and on Labor Day, Sept. 2.



Protect babies from whooping cough – CDC infographic



Protect Babies from Whooping Cough (Text Version)

If you’re pregnant get a Tdap shot!

Whooping cough is deadly for babies

[Picture of a nurse holding a baby beside a hospital]
Whooping cough (pertussis) is a respiratory infection that can cause severe coughing or trouble breathing.
About half of infants who get whooping cough are hospitalized!
[picture of arrow saying “1 out of 2” pointing to hospital]
Whooping cough cases across the U.S. have been on the rise since the 1980s.

Pregnant women need to get a Tdap shot

[Picture of a pregnant woman talking to a mother holding a baby]
Pregnant woman: I got my whooping cough vaccine and will encourage everyone caring for my baby to get a shot, too!
Mom: This vaccine helps protect you from whooping cough and passes some protection to your baby.

Create a circle of protection around your baby

4 out of 5 babies who get whooping cough catch it from someone at home*
[Picture of a baby surrounded by his parents, brother and sister, grandparents, and childcare providers]
Everyone needs whooping cough vaccine:

  • Parents
  • Brothers & sisters
  • Childcare providers
  • Grandparents

* When source was identified

Make sure your baby gets all 5 doses of whooping cough vaccine on time

Your baby needs whooping cough vaccine at:

  • 2 months
  • 4 months
  • 6 months
  • 15 thru 18 months
  • 4 thru 6 years

You can get whooping cough vaccines at a doctor’s office, local health department, or pharmacy

[Picture of a nurse and a doctor]
Like it? Tell a friend! It’s important! Pinit! Tweet it! Share it on Facebook!
[Picture of parents with a newborn baby and young daughter]

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Chain Saw

What will the impact of sequestration be on Washington health programs?


In an effort to pressure Congress to come up with a deal to prevent the $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts required by the sequestration agreement, the White House has released a list of programs that will be hit should the cuts go through.

Here is the White House’s list of cuts that will likely hit health-related programs in Washington state.

Protections for Clean Air and Clean Water:

Washington would lose about $3,301,000 in environmental funding to ensure clean water and air quality, as well as prevent pollution from pesticides and hazardous waste. In addition, Washington could lose another $924,000 in grants for fish and wildlife protection.

Vaccines for Children:

In Washington around 2,850 fewer children will receive vaccines for diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, whooping cough, influenza, and Hepatitis B due to reduced funding for vaccinations of about $195,000.

Public Health:

Washington will lose approximately $642,000 in funds to help upgrade its ability to respond to public health threats including infectious diseases, natural disasters, and biological, chemical, nuclear, and radiological events. In addition, Washington will lose about $1,740,000 in grants to help prevent and treat substance abuse, resulting in around 3800 fewer admissions to substance abuse programs. And the Washington State Department of Health will lose about $174,000 resulting in around 4,300 fewer HIV tests.

Nutrition Assistance for Seniors:

Washington would lose approximately $1,053,000 in funds that provide meals for seniors.

Education for Children with Disabilities:

In addition, Washington will lose approximately $11,251,000 in funds for about 140 teachers, aides, and staff who help children with disabilities.

To learn more:

  • Read the full list of programs the White House says will be affected here.
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Vaccine thumbnail

What impact have vaccines had on health? – Infographic


Leon Farrant, a graphic design student at Purchase College, used data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to create a striking infographic showing the impact vaccines have had on health in the U.S.

PrintCreative Commons Licence.

To see more of Farrant’s work go to: To see more of his work go to:

CDC stats


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King County infant dies of whooping cough

Photomicrograph of the bacteria that causes whooping cough

Pertussis, the whooping cough bacteria — CDC photo

A newborn child in King County has died of pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, Public Health – Seattle & King Count reported Tuesday.

The child died on Thursday, December 13th, health officials said.

The death is a reminder that pregnant women and family members need to be immunized in order to protect newborns and young babies, health officials said.

Whooping cough can affect people of all ages — but is most serious in infants, especially those too young to get vaccinated or who aren’t fully protected.

Infants are at the highest risk for serious illness, hospitalization and death from pertussis.

There is a vaccine that can prevent infection, but it is not effective in newborns or infants and it wears off with time.

Public Health – Seattle & King County recommends:

  • Women should be revaccinated with every pregnancy because protection is passed from mother to baby. Vaccinating the mother, ideally between week 27 and 36 of her pregnancy, provides temporary immunity until the baby is old enough to get immunized, beginning at 2 months of age.
  • All family members and other close contacts should also make certain they are up-to-date with their pertussis vaccine provides additional security, or a “cocoon” around vulnerable babies.
  • Persons with cold or cough symptoms should stay away from babies because even people with mild symptoms can spread pertussis, influenza, and other infections.
  • In addition to women with each pregnancy, Tdap is recommended for all adults and teens 11 years of age and older if they have not received it previously. Children under 11 years should be up-to-date with their childhood pertussis vaccinations.

Currently, washington state is experiencing its worst whooping cough epidemic in 70 years, with more than 4,600 cases reported so far this year.

In King County:

  • Pertussis cases to date this year: 752 confirmed cases. (Because not everyone with pertussis is diagnosed and reported, the actual number of people infected is even higher.)
  • Deaths in 2012: The infant death reported in this news release is the first pertussis death in the County this year.
  • Number of hospitalizations in 2012: 12
  • Peak illness: Case reports are declining after a peak in May, 2012. The number of reports received each week continues to be higher than this time in 2011, and higher than the 5-year average for this time of year.
  • In 2011 there were 98 confirmed cases, 4 hospitalizations, and 0 deaths.

How do I get a vaccine?

Washington purchases and provides all recommended vaccines for kids through age 18, available from health care providers across the state.

Health care providers may charge an office visit fee and a fee to give the vaccine (an administration fee). People who can’t afford the administration fee can ask to have it waived.

Over the summer the state also purchased whooping cough vaccine for uninsured and underinsured adults – many local health agencies still have that vaccine available.

For help finding a provider or immunization clinic, contact your local health agency or the Family Health Hotline at 1-800-322-2588.

More information, including weekly case counts, is available on the Department of Health’s whooping cough website.

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Pertussis Chart Thumbnail

State whooping cough cases top 4,500 – but epidemic slows


The number of cases of whooping cough, or pertussis, reported in Washington state this year has topped 4,500 — the highest number reported in 70 years — but the epidemic appears to be slowing as the number of new cases being reported has begun to drop off, Washington State Department of Health officials reported Thursday.

Nonetheless, health officials warned, the bacteria that causes whooping cough–Bordetella pertussis– is still actively circulating in the community and the risk of infection remains real.

“We’re encouraged to see the pace of new cases in our state slowing,” said Secretary of Health Mary Selecky,” but we are not completely out of the woods.”

The number of whooping cough cases in the state exploded in 2011

The epidemic’s course is varying from community to community: some communities are seeing a decline in new cases but others continue to have high numbers of new cases reported.

To date, the counties with the highest rates on infection have been: Ferry, Jefferson, Lewis, Pierce, San Juan, Skagit, Stevens, Walla Walla, Whatcom, and Yakima.

Even when cases fall, health officials noted, the bacteria always continues to circulate and cause infections even when there is no epidemic.

Therefore it is important for young children, teens and adults to get vaccinated and keep up-to-date with recommended booster shots, health officials said.

Vaccination not only helps protect individuals from the infection, it helps protect newborns who cannot be vaccinated until they’re two-months-old and who aren’t fully protected until they’ve had four doses, at 15 to 18 months.

Whooping cough is particularly dangerous for babies.

Surviving Whooping Cough: Michelle’s Story

One family’s story of their newborn’s battle against whooping cough and their message to the community. To learn more about what you can do to prevent whooping cough go to

An infant with whooping cough may have trouble feeding and breathing and may turn bluish from not getting enough oxygen — and the infection can even be fatal, health officials said.

Older babies and kids with whooping cough often have coughing spells so severe it’s hard for them to eat, drink, breathe, and sleep.

This year in Washington 339 infants under one year of age developed whooping cough, 66 of whom were hospitalized.

Infection rates have also been high among adolescents, aged 10 to 13, who have made up 22 percent of cases.

Whooping Cough

Photomicrograph of the bacteria that causes whooping cough

Pertussis, the whooping cough bacteria — CDC photo

Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is a highly contagious respiratory illness spread by coughing and sneezing.

It is caused by a bacteria called Bordetella pertussis. The name, pertussis, comes from Latin, from per-‘away, extremely’ + Latin tussis ‘a cough.’

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the 20th century,  pertussis was one of the most common childhood diseases and a major cause of child death in the United States.

Initially, an infection may seem like just a cold. However, during this phase of the infection, which can last several weeks, a person can spread the disease to others.

Patients typically then go on to develop a severe, persistent–often wracking–cough that can last for several more weeks.

The coughing fits can be prolonged and are often followed by a long inhalation that causes the “whooping” sound that gives the disease its name.

The bouts of coughing can leave victims breathless and unable to eat, drink or sleep. Complications of the infection include pneumonia, seizures and death.

Whooping cough can affect people of all ages — but is most serious in infants, especially those too young to get vaccinated or who aren’t fully protected.

There is a vaccine that can prevent infection, but it is not effective in newborns or infants and it wears off with time.

When a baby gets whooping cough, it is usually from a sibling or an adult member of the family, health officials said.  The best way to protect these vulnerable children, they said, is to have everyone around them be up-to-date with their vaccinations.

“With family and friends gathering for the holidays, disease can spread easily. It’s important for adults and teens to be current on their whooping cough vaccines to protect babies from this serious illness,” said Selecky. “And of course, remember to wash your hands often, cover your cough, and stay home when you’re sick.”

The Washington State Department of Health recommends:

All adults should get a one-time Tdap booster, and kids should get their whooping cough vaccinations (DTaP) on schedule. It’s a five-dose series that starts when they’re two months old and is complete before age seven. They need one booster (Tdap) at age 11 or 12.

How do I get a vaccine?

Washington purchases and provides all recommended vaccines for kids through age 18, available from health care providers across the state.

Health care providers may charge an office visit fee and a fee to give the vaccine (an administration fee). People who can’t afford the administration fee can ask to have it waived.

Over the summer the state also purchased whooping cough vaccine for uninsured and underinsured adults – many local health agencies still have that vaccine available.

For help finding a provider or immunization clinic, contact your local health agency or the Family Health Hotline at 1-800-322-2588.

More information, including weekly case counts, is available on the Department of Health’s whooping cough website.

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Whooping cough shot clinics at Edmonds Community College, Oct. 23


Low-income, uninsured college students and other adults may roll up their sleeves for whooping cough shots Tuesday, Oct. 23 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5-7 p.m., at Edmonds Community College, 20000 68th Ave. W, Lynnwood, Wash.

A limited amount of no-cost flu vaccine will also be available for low-income, uninsured adults.

 When and where:

  • The daytime clinic will be held in Rooms 231/233, Brier Hall from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Triton Student Center)
  • The evening clinic will be held in Snoqualmie Hall lobby from 5 to 7 p.m.

Whooping cough, also called pertussis, is a highly contagious respiratory disease that is spread by adults and children and 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.

As of October 5, Snohomish Health District confirmed 526 reports of whooping cough in 2012, although most cases go unreported, especially in adults.

Letters notifying parents that their child may have been exposed to the disease have gone out to elementary, middle and high schools, youth sports, weekend events, daycares and other activities.

Snohomish Health District and community partner Verdant Health Commission continue 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” protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough.

Contact your health care provider or pharmacy to make sure you and your child are fully immunized. Children’s vaccines are free or low-cost.

These community clinics are part of the Snohomish Health District’s ongoing fight with an epidemic of whooping cough in Snohomish County.

The Health District will provide about 800 adult doses of pertussis vaccine made available through the state Department of Health. Sixteen previous whooping cough clinics in the county this year vaccinated a total of 1,877 adults; pharmacies have given about 1,000 shots.

Compared to total whooping cough vaccinations in the first four months of 2011, Snohomish County residents have gotten about twice as many shots in the same period this year.

Too learn more:

  • Download vaccine information sheets and consent forms in English and Spanish at the Snohomish Health District’s Web site,
  • Vaccines for adults may be covered by private health insurance or Medicaid, or offered at reduced cost at the sites listed at

This year the Verdant Health Commission joined forces with the Snohomish Health District and other community partners to educate and increase access to the whooping cough vaccine in an effort to protect the health of all community members. For nearly 50 years, Public Hospital District No. 2, Snohomish County served the health needs of the community by governing and managing the local community hospital. As the hospital district’s new program, the Verdant Health Commission invests in community programs that empower South Snohomish County residents to make healthy decisions and choose a healthy lifestyle.


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Vaccine Square

Washington childhood immunization rates improve – 3 in 4 kids up-to-date


Measles Virus

Immunization rates for Washington toddlers continue to improve with 75 percent of children ages 3 and under receiving the series of recommended vaccines in 2011, state health officials said Thursday.

That’s up from 71 percent in 2010, according to the National Immunization Survey. For the first time, Washington’s rate is above the national average, 74 percent.

The survey measures a series of six vaccines (DTaP, polio, MMR, hepatitis B, chickenpox, and pneumococcal); some require multiple doses.

Kids must have all doses to be included in the rate.

For the vaccines included in the series, estimates increased for chickenpox, DTaP, and pneumococcal vaccines, driving the overall series increase.

Despite the improved rate, Washington is still behind the state and national goal of 80 percent for the series.

Immunization rates for DTaP, the whooping cough vaccine recommended for young children through age 6, increased from 82 percent to 86 percent.

The national average is 85 percent. Even though this increase isn’t statistically significant, it’s an encouraging sign that rates are moving in the right direction – especially in the midst of a whooping cough epidemic, health officials said.

“The whooping cough epidemic is still with us and getting vaccinated is the best protection,” State Health Officer Dr. Maxine Hayes said. “Whooping cough can be life-threatening for young babies. It’s crucial that we protect babies and make sure that family members and caregivers are vaccinated.”

Nearly 4,000 cases of whooping cough have been reported so far in 2012 – more than 10 times the cases reported during the same time period in 2011.

This year there have been 270 reported cases in infants; 53 of them were hospitalized. No deaths have been reported in 2012.

The survey also includes rates for individual vaccines, such as the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) and chickenpox vaccines.

The goal for each individual vaccine is 90 percent – Washington met this goal only for the polio vaccine. Rates increased significantly for the rotavirus and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccines.

Kids must be vaccinated on time for the best protection; missing or delaying even one vaccine leaves kids at risk, health officials said.

Washington provides all recommended vaccines for children through age 18, available from health care providers across the state. Providers may charge an office visit and a fee to give the vaccine (administration fee).

People who can’t afford the administration fee can ask to have it waived.

For help finding a provider or immunization clinic, contact the local health agency in your area or the Family Health Hotline at 1-800-322-2588.

Although the new numbers show that most parents protect their children from serious diseases through vaccination, some parents have questions and concerns, health officials said, therefore the state health department is providing resources for parents and health care providers to help families can learn more about immunizations:

Homepage photo of a syringe and vial courtesy of Brian Hoskins.
See more of his work here.
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