Free vaccine clinics target whooping cough

Friday, July 19, 2013 | 2:26 p.m. CDT; updated 4:19 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 20, 2013

COLUMBIA — Free vaccines are being offered next week to combat the threat of whooping cough.

The Tdap vaccines will be offered from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday and 9 a.m. to noon on July 27 at the Health Department, 1005 W. Worley St.

The Tdap vaccine protects against pertussis, or whooping cough, along with tetanus and diphtheria. All three diseases are caused by bacteria. Diphtheria and whooping cough are spread from person to person; tetanus can be spread through cuts, scratches or wounds.

Getting vaccines to prevent pertussis have become more important with an increase in cases. During 2012, pertussis cases or outbreaks were reported in a majority of states, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Whooping cough causes severe coughing spells, which can make breathing difficult, as well as vomiting.

Around 15 cases of whopping cough were reported last year in Boone County. Missouri is among 21 states that had a higher number of cases in 2012 than the national average of 41,000, according to the CDC.

The local clinic is part of a statewide effort through the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, Trina Teacutter, spokeswoman from the Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services Department.

Vaccinations will be administered on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, contact the clinic at 874-7356.

Missouri state law, changed in 2010, requires the Tdap vaccination for students who have not received one before entering eighth grade this fall. 

Adults are encouraged to get vaccinated, especially if they are around a baby younger than 12 months. The incidence rate of pertussis among infants exceeds all other age groups, according to the CDC.

Supervising editor is John Schneller.

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Mark Foecking July 20, 2013 | 2:32 p.m.

The problem, unfortunately, is not that people can't afford the shots. It's that parents choose not to get the shots because they think it will harm their child. There are many whackjob, anti-scientific websites out there that try to convince people that the risks of vaccines are greater than the diseases they prevent. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I think it's nice they give free Tdap shots to people who can't otherwise afford them. That's not the problem, however.


(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith July 20, 2013 | 5:27 p.m.

Agreed. It's part of a larger problem: the misconception that something can and must be 100% safe, or it is not deemed to be safe at all. Sticking with vaccinations, there can be some risk, but that needs to be weighed against the good that vaccinating individuals and entire populations may accomplish.

We will never have 100% safe (from accidents) motor vehicles or civil aircraft. Etc.

Should we continue making things and situations safer? Sure.

I believe that since World War II American attitudes concerning reasonable safety have seriously regressed; further, some of the most glaring examples have come from individuals and groups SUPPOSED to be well educated. That's downright scary.

(Report Comment)

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