With the start of a new school year, now is a good time to vaccinate children. California Department of Public Health requires children to be up-to-date on vaccines before registering for daycare, Kindergarten and 7th grade. If your child is entering into either of the aforementioned grades or a new school district, now is the time to vaccinate.
We are experiencing a spike in pertussis cases (also commonly referred to as whooping cough) in Sacramento County and in California for 2014. According to California Department of Public Health, there have been 6,930 cases of whooping cough reported since January 2014. That is more than double the number of cases reported in 2013. Sacramento County has had 219 cases of pertussis reported so far this year and had one death; that’s more than triple the cases reported in Sacramento in 2013. The volume of pertussis cases fluctuates year to year, typically spiking every three years. However the spike in cases this year is even higher than what a normal spike would be.
Infants are especially susceptible to pertussis and it can be fatal for them. Adults, especially those who interact closely with children, need to get a pertussis booster (Tdap). Adults can transmit pertussis to infants and children whose immune systems are weaker and not as able to fight off the disease. Most health care plans now cover adult vaccines and the Tdap is available at pharmacies.
It is recommended that pregnant women receive the Tdap booster between the 27th and 36th weeks of pregnancy. After getting the shot, their bodies will create protective antibodies and pass some of them off onto the fetus. This gives newborns a small amount of protection but it is still vital that they receive vaccines to further protect them from disease.
“We’re about to head into fall and the flu season; now is the time people should make sure they are up-to-date on their vaccinations, especially pertussis and influenza. The flu vaccine becomes available in September,” said Kate McAuley, Sacramento County Health and Human Services Immunization Assistance Program Coordinator.
Staying up-to-date on vaccines not only protects yourself and your children but also others in the community. The more people are vaccinated, the less likely an outbreak will occur.