Pertussis is Vaccine Preventable – Spread the Word

The California Department of Health declared a pertussis epidemic in the state in June 2010, after more than 900 cases have been reported and five infants less than three months of age have died. This incidence rate is a four-fold increase from the number of cases reported in June 2009. Studies show that in infant cases of pertussis, 83% of the cases were transmitted by a household member, and 55% of those were from parent to infant. And California is not alone…

This is a tragic reminder that vaccine-preventable diseases still exist, and the need to maintain vaccine coverage is vital to protecting the public, especially those most vulnerable. Because immunity from childhood pertussis vaccination wanes over time, a booster for adolescents and adults is essential.  Even though Tdap has been recommended since 2005, coverage rates are not as high as hoped for. 

School nurses should encourage any close contact with infants to be vaccinated – including themselves – with Tdap (tetanus-diptheria-pertussis vaccine).  School nurses should also encourage parents to make sure childhood vaccines are up-to-date, and their adolescents receive the recommended booster dose at 11 to 12 years of age.

Resources you can use:

2010 Child and Adolescent Immunization Schedules available at

NASN educational campaign, Give Your Kids a Boost available at

Pre-teen and Adolescent immunization tools available at

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The role of the school nurse in promoting vaccines was showcased throughout the conference (see below).  Informational materials can still be access from the NASN website for those of you who were registered.  There are two options to download NASN 2010 conference session abstracts and handouts, if supplied by the speaker.
1. Download one .zip file. Go to this link: where you should see one file folder called ‘papers’ and it contains all of the session handouts. Save that folder to your computer.
2. Download individually from the Conference Community site after activating your Community site account. Go to the schedule on the community site, click on the session title you want to open the session details, and look to see if there is a PDF document under the “Materials” heading.
If you did not attend this year, consider next year (June 29-July 3, 2011 in Washington DC)!


  • Dr. Melinda Wharton, Captain, US Public Health Service & Deputy Director of the CDC National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases presented an update on pre-teen vaccines.
  • “Immunization Review:  Do You Know the Immunizations Kids Need to Stay Healthy?” presented by B. DuRant & C. Raisher


  • “ Teachable Moments:  The School Nurse’s Critical Role When Parents Opt Out of Vaccinating Their Children” presented by Dan Salmon, PhD, MPH


  • Equipping the School Nurse to be an Immunization Champion
  • An Evidence-based Toolkit for HPV Vaccination of Female Adolescents in the School Setting
  • School Based H1N1 Vaccination:  A Successful Partnership
  • Evaluation of an Intervention to Improve Tracking and Reporting of the H1N1 Virus


  • Raise Your Voice for Meningococcal Meningitis Prevention informational session (sanofi Pasteur)
  • Flunk the Flu!  Becoming a Champion for School-Located Vaccination Programs (MedImmune)
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