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Free Whooping Cough Vaccines Offered in January

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January 12, 2011

Pertussis vaccines will be available on weekends this month at local Northgate markets to help protect infants in our region from the epidemic, the County’s Health and Human Services Agency reported today.

Six confirmed cases of whooping cough have been reported already this year, three of which occurred at schools where others may have been exposed to the highly contagious disease. In 2010, two infants died of complications resulting from pertussis and confirmed whooping cough cases reached 1,125, a new record.

“The pertussis booster vaccine is important for anyone who comes in contact with infants and young children in order to safeguard our most vulnerable age groups,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County Public Health Officer.

The booster shot is available on weekends in January from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the following locations:

  • 2909 Coronado Ave., San Diego, 92154
  • 1410 S. 43rd St., San Diego, 92113
  • 1058 3rd Ave., Chula Vista, 91911
  • 606 N. Escondido Blvd., Escondido, 92025
  • 1150 E. Vista Way, Vista, 92084
  • 1346 S. Mission Rd., Fallbrook, 92028

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) recommends a pertussis booster vaccine (Tdap) for everyone 10 years or older who has not yet received it, especially women of childbearing age, before, during, or immediately after pregnancy; and other people, including household contacts, caregivers, and health care workers, who have contact with pregnant women or infants. Children 7-9 years of age who did not receive all of their routine childhood shots are recommended to receive a Tdap booster dose.

Additionally, beginning July 1, all students entering 7th through 12th grades in both public and private schools must show proof that they have had a Tdap booster shot before they can start school. The CDC recommends that children receive a booster shot of Tdap vaccine at 11-12 yrs.

The CDC also recommends that children get one dose of DTaP vaccine at the following ages: 2 months; 4 months; 6 months; 15 to 18 months and 4 to 6 years. The vaccine is also available from a primary care physician. Residents who do not have health care coverage may visit a HHSA Public Health Center.

A typical case of pertussis in children and adults starts with a cough and runny nose for one-to-two weeks, followed by weeks to months of rapid coughing fits that sometimes end with a whooping sound. Fever, if present, is usually mild. The disease is treatable with antibiotics. 

For more information about whooping cough, please call the HHSA Immunization Branch at (866) 358-2966, or visit the web site at    

New Cases

This week’s new pertussis cases where there is a potential for public exposure are:

  • A 14-year-old who was due for a booster shot and attends Challenger Middle School in the San Diego Unified School District. 
  • A 10-year-old who was up-to-date on immunizations and attends Kate Sessions Elementary School in the San Diego Unified School District. 
  • A 10-year-old who was up-to-date on immunizations and attends Mueller Charter School in the Chula Vista Elementary School District.


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