Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Pertussis Outbreak, Protect your Family Now

Have you, parents, had a pertussis vaccination booster? The current outbreak in California is beginning to spread across the United States. While kids have been vaccinated, adults and teenagers can carry the virus and contaminate infants and toddlers. Pertussis can be deadly to infants!
The CDC recommends the following vaccination schedule per age group:

  • Infants and children are recommended to receive 5 doses of the DTaP vaccine at 2, 4, and 6 months, at 15 through 18 months, and at 4 through 6 years. All 5 doses are needed for maximum protection
  • Adolescents are recommended to receive the Tdap vaccine at their regular check-up at age 11 or 12. If teenagers (13 through 18 years) missed getting the Tdap vaccine, parents should ask the doctor about getting it for them now
  • Adults who are 19 through 64 years old are recommended to get a 1-time dose of Tdap in place of the Td booster they’re recommended to receive every 10 years. No need to wait until you are due for your Td booster—the dose of Tdap can be given earlier than the 10-year mark since the last Td booster. It's a good idea for adults to talk to a healthcare provider about what's best for their specific situation.
  • Pregnant women should ideally receive Tdap before pregnancy. Otherwise, it is recommended that Tdap be given after delivery, before leaving the hospital or birthing center. If a pregnant woman is at increased risk for getting whooping cough, such as during a community outbreak, her doctor may consider giving Tdap during pregnancy. Although pregnancy is not a contraindication for receiving Tdap, a pregnant woman and her doctor should discuss the risks and benefits before choosing to receive Tdap during pregnancy.
  • People 65 years and older do not currently have a whooping cough booster vaccine licensed for their age group. However, people in this age group can talk to their healthcare provider to see if getting Tdap is a good decision for them. This discussion can include weighing the risks and benefits of receiving Tdap. Receiving Tdap may be especially important during a community outbreak and/or if caring for an infant.

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