EVERETT — Low-income, uninsured college students and other adults will be offered free whooping cough shots from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 4-6 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 13, in Room 105 of Everett Community College's Whitehorse Hall. Those under 18 years of age need a parent or guardian's signature for permission to vaccinate.
Everett Community College is located at 2000 Tower St. in Everett. For directions to the college and parking information, see www.everettcc.edu/maps.
The Snohomish Health District encourages all adults, especially those who have contact with infants, to get vaccinated against this preventable disease. People of all ages need booster shots to maintain their immunity, and most adults are not current on their shots. A single shot known as "Tdap" prevents tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough.
Contact your health care provider or pharmacy to make sure you and your child are fully immunized. Children's vaccines are free or low-cost. Vaccines for adults may be covered by private health insurance or Medicaid, or offered at reduced cost at the sites listed at www.snohd.org/stopthecough.
Whooping cough, also called pertussis, is a highly contagious respiratory disease that is spread by adults and children, and is particularly harmful to infants, who have no immunity. Children and adults become sick enough to miss school and work for several days, up to two weeks.
As of Oct. 26, the Snohomish Health District confirmed 535 reports of whooping cough in 2012, although most cases go unreported, especially in adults. Letters notifying parents that their child may have been exposed to the disease have gone out to elementary, middle and high schools, as well as youth sports, weekend events, daycares and other activities.
These community clinics are part of the Snohomish Health District's ongoing fight with an epidemic of whooping cough in Snohomish County. The Health District will provide about 300 adult doses of pertussis vaccine, made available through the state Department of Health. A limited amount of flu vaccine will also be available. Eighteen previous whooping cough clinics in the county this year vaccinated a total of 2,006 adults. Pharmacies have given about 1,000 shots.
Compared to total whooping cough vaccinations in the first four months of 2011, Snohomish County residents have gotten about twice as many shots in the same period this year.
Download vaccine information sheets and consent forms in English and Spanish at the Snohomish Health District's website at www.snohd.org/stopthecough.