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 www.cdc.gov/vaccines/recs/schedules/child-schedule.htm

NASN educational campaign, Give Your Kids a Boost available at http://www.nasn.org/Default.aspx?tabid=438

Pre-teen and Adolescent immunization tools available at http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/preteens

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