Even if adults have been immunized, whooping cough immunity can fade over time. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) now recommends that adults get a “Tdap” booster to prevent getting sick and spreading the illness to infants in the home. This is a single dose vaccine that protects against pertussis as well as tetanus and diphtheria. The Southwest Utah Public Health Department (SWUPHD) is currently offering FREE Tdap vaccine to anyone ages 19 through 64 who:
• Has frequent contact with infants
• Is uninsured, OR
• has insurance that doesn’t pay for immunizations
“We hope parents and caregivers will take advantage of this opportunity,” says Susan Peck, SWUPHD Nursing Director. “We have had whooping cough outbreaks in our community before and it’s especially rough on babies, who often get it from mom, dad, or grandparents.”
Qualified adults can get the Tdap vaccine at no charge by visiting any of the following SWUPHD clinics (call for an appointment):
St. George - 673-2540 - 620 South 400 East #334 Mon Tues Thurs: 9:00am – 4:00pm, Wed: 1:00-5:00pm
Cedar City - 586-2437 - 260 East DL Sergeant Drive Tuesdays: 3:00-6:00pm, Wednesdays: 1:00-4:00pm
Kanab - 644-2537 - 445 North Main Tuesdays: 9:00-11:00am & 2:00-4:00pm
Beaver - 438-2482 - 75 West 1175 North 2nd & 4th Wednesday of every month: 1:00-3:00pm
Panguitch - 676-8800 - 609 North Main Call for appointment
Tdap vaccine is also available on a self-pay basis and is covered by some insurances. Children ages 10-18 can also receive Tdap boosters. A similar vaccine called DTaP is administered to children under 7 years of age.
Whooping cough can seem like a common cold at first but can cause severe coughing spells that lead to vomiting, disturbed sleep, even rib fractures. The cough often has a ‘whooping’ sound as the person gasps for air and can last for months. Complications include weight loss, pneumonia, and hospitalization. For more information go to Southwest Health.