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Three Free Whooping Cough Booster Clinics Offered

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September 16, 2011

County public health is holding three more pertussis Tdap clinics in the coming weeks for returning middle and high school students who still need to show proof of having received the booster, according to Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA).

“The County is encouraged by the continuing decrease in the frequency of cases reported for the region,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County Public Health Officer. “Schools are one of the places where pertussis can spread quickly, which is why immunizations are important, and why the state has this new requirement for teenagers.”

The number of cases in the county bumped up to 356, only three more than last week. None of those new cases occurred at schools or other group sites that could have potentially exposed large numbers of people. In 2010, a record 1,144 cases were reported in San Diego County, including two infant deaths.

A new state law requires 7th through 12th graders to show proof they have received the Tdap booster shot before they can attend classes. AB 354 was passed as a result of the 2010 statewide pertussis epidemic.

HHSA is holding three whooping cough booster clinics on Sept. 21 from 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. at Bell Middle School, 620 Briarwood Road (300 doses available), on Sept. 27 from 2:30 to 6 p.m. at Junipero Serra High School, 5156 Santo Road (300 doses available), and on Sept. 29 from 2 to 6 p.m. at Patrick Henry High School, 6702 Wandermere Drive (300 doses available).

Parents can also get the Tdap booster shot for their children through their primary care physician, and students who are not covered under a medical insurance plan can obtain the shot from a local retail pharmacy for a fee, or from a County public health center or Tdap-booster clinics. 

A typical case of pertussis 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 and ongoing vaccination clinics, call the HHSA Immunization Branch at (866) 358-2966, or visit www.sdiz.org.