County hosting free whooping cough vaccinations, Saturday
San Mateo County Health System will hold a free whooping cough vaccine clinic. The number of whooping cough cases in the County has reached nearly eight times the number at this time last year.
The clinic will be held on September 18 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Health Administration Building, Room 100, located at 225 37th Ave. in San Mateo. All residents ages 7 and older are encouraged to get vaccinated, especially those in close contact with newborns who are too young to be vaccinated. No appointment is necessary, and residents will not be asked to show I.D.
"The number of whooping cough cases in the County continues to rise. It’s particularly dangerous for infants, and most infants are infected by a parent," said Dr. Scott Morrow, San Mateo County Health Officer. "Whooping cough is a preventable disease, which makes it very important for families, and anyone who is around infants, to get vaccinated."
As of August 31, the whooping cough epidemic has claimed the lives of eight infants statewide. During this same period of time the County has 61 confirmed cases with five hospitalizations and no reported deaths.
Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is a serious and contagious illness that causes severe coughing attacks that make it hard to breathe, and can last for months. Infants who are too young to be vaccinated are especially vulnerable to the disease, and whooping cough can cause hospitalizations and in some cases, death, when it is not treated early.
The vaccine does not provide lifetime immunity. Adults need to get a booster shot every 10 years to remain protected. Children need to get a booster shot between the ages of 10 and 12, when the protection provided by a series of vaccines most kids get before kindergarten, wears off.
Whooping cough does not always come with the characteristic cough. It is often mistaken for the common cold or flu. Early detection is key to treating the disease before it becomes life threatening, or before it is passed on. For more information about whooping cough and about the free vaccine clinic, visit www.smhealth.org/pertussis, or call (650) 573-2346