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.