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Vaccinations Key to Fighting Whooping Cough Epidemic

Dared and Renee Price of Graves Drug have spent the last month following the story of Aiden, a baby in Oklahoma that was diagnosed with pertussis at three weeks old. For weeks 30,000 people across the nation followed this baby’s story on the ‘50 for Aiden’ Facebook page. The pertussis led to pneumonia due to the weakened state of baby’s lungs, and he passed away at seven weeks old. This is just one example of the devastating effect pertussis can have on infants. Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. Pertussis is known for its uncontrollable, violent coughing which often makes it hard to breathe. After fits of many coughs, someone with pertussis often needs to take deep breathes which result in a "whooping" sound. Pertussis most commonly affects infants and young children and can be fatal, especially in babies less than 1 year of age. The best way to protect against pertussis is immunization. Baby Aiden’s story has prompted Dared and Renee to gather together the providers of Cowley County in a County-wide Pertussis Vaccination Initiative that encourages individuals who have any contact with small children to get vaccinated. Getting vaccinated with Tdap (the tetanus booster that now contains pertussis vaccination) at least two weeks before coming into close contact with an infant is very important. Because vaccine protection fades over time, family members and care givers need to be revaccinated to protect against pertussis as well as tetanus and diphtheria. Pregnant women who have not been previously vaccinated with Tdap should get one dose of the vaccine, preferably during the third trimester or late second trimester.


Locations where you can receive the tdap vaccine include; City-Cowley County Health Department, Ark City Clinic, Dr. Rhonda Green (Ark City), Graves Drug Ark City and Winfield, Walgreens, Walmart (Mollen Immunization Clinic), Ark City Dillons. Winfield Medical Arts, Hillside Medical (Winfield), Westside Clinic (Winfield), Family Care Center (Winfield), Health Professionals of Winfield, American Medical Practice (Winfield), Winfield Pharmacy, and Medicap (Winfield).


The City-Cowley County Health Department and Ark City Clinic are currently participating in a grant which allows them to obtain the vaccine free of charge for eligible patients (there is an administration fee). You can contact either location to check your eligibility.


The CDC has reported nearly 18,000 cases of pertussis from January to July of this year. This is nearly twice as many as reported last year and it is believed that the nation is on track for a record high pertussis rate this year. In 2010, 27,000 cases were reported and 27 people died.


"Historically Pertussis has not been a disease that has caused many problems in adults,” states Pharmacist Dared Price, owner of Graves Drug. "It hasn't been until the last few years that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has recommended those individuals between the ages of 18-65 get the vaccine. Even when an adult contracts the disease it doesn't cause many problems; however, as we saw with our friends in Oklahoma, the danger lies in the transmission of the disease from a healthy adult to a person whos immune system is either compromised or not developed, such as infants. We are hoping to bring as much awareness as we can to our community about the pertussis vaccine, and I hope everyone who reads this will get vaccinated today!"