Health department to offer free whooping cough vaccine

Friday, July 26, 2013 | 3:02 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Free Tdap vaccinations will be offered Saturday to prevent tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough in the community.

The Columbia/Boone County Health Department will hold the vaccine clinic from 9 a.m. to noon at its facility, 1005 W. Worley St. Vaccines will be provided on a walk-in basis while supplies last, and no appointment is necessary.

Pertussis, or whooping cough, is a disease that causes severe coughing fits. It can result in difficulty breathing, vomiting and disturbance in sleeping. Up to two in 100 adolescents and five in 100 adults with whooping cough are hospitalized or develop complications, which could include pneumonia or death, according to a Health Department news release.

Bacteria also cause tetanus and diphtheria, but the diseases are less common in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Tetanus is caused when bacteria in soil, dust and manure enter the body through a scratch or cut. Diphtheria is a toxin made by bacteria that spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It causes a thick coating in the back of the nose or throat that results in difficulty breathing or swallowing.

Tdap vaccinations are recommended for anyone age 11 and older who has never had the vaccine before, anyone who has contact with a baby younger than 12 months, healthcare professionals with direct patient contact and pregnant women (recommended in the third trimester). Missouri state law requires Tdap vaccination for any child entering 8th grade in the fall.

The Health Department works in cooperation with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services to provide the free clinics as part of a statewide mass vaccination exercise.

Saturday is the Health Department’s second and final free Tdap vaccination clinic.Regularly priced Tdap vaccine is available during regular clinic hours, which are from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m Monday through Friday. For more information, contact the clinic at 874-7356.

Supervising editor is Shaina Cavazos.

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