OLYMPIA, Wash. - Whooping cough cases have slowed in Washington with some areas showing levels more typical before the epidemic. State officials still warn that whooping cough is still active and that babies and persons with high risk are still vulnerable. The key to protection is vaccination.
2012 has already counted the highest number of cases in more than 70 years with over 4500 cases to date. The number of cases varies between communities with some areas dealing with high numbers and others returning to expected levels.
This epidemic had increased public awareness on the seriousness of whooping cough and have more than doubled the amount of Tdap boosters this year with Washington adults.
Whooping cough may interfere with breathing of infants as they may not get enough oxygen. For older babies and kids, coughing spells can become difficult to eat, drink, breathe and sleep. New babies are especially vulnerable because they can't get their first whooping cough vaccine until they're two months old, and aren't fully protected until they've had four doses, at 15 to 18 months.
Adults should get a one-time Tdap booster, and kids should get their whooping cough vaccinations (DTaP) on schedule. It's a five-dose series that starts when they're two months old and is complete before age seven. They need one booster (Tdap) at age 11 or 12.
Washington will provide for all recommended vaccines for kids through age 18, available from health care providers across the state. Health care providers may charge an office visit fee and a fee to give the vaccine (an administration fee). People who can't afford the administration fee can ask to have it waived. Over the summer the state also purchased whooping cough vaccine for uninsured and underinsured adults – many local health agencies still have that vaccine available. For help finding a provider or immunization clinic, contact your local health agency or the Family Health Hotline at 1-800-322-2588.