Data from health plans also show an increase. Group Health gave almost 60 percent more Tdap to adults in April of this year compared to April 2011. Premera Blue Cross is seeing a similar trend, with the number of Tdap vaccinations in April 2012 up by more than 70 percent for its members compared to an average month. These increases are good news, especially with yearly 2012 total reported pertussis cases now at 2,092 — the highest since the 1940s.
“We’re asking everyone to double-check with their health care provider to make sure they’re up-to-date on vaccinations,” said Secretary Selecky. “Our reported case count has climbed above 2,000 already with half of the year to go. It’s vital that teens and adults get the Tdap booster.”
The Department of Health bought more than 27,000 doses of Tdap vaccine for uninsured and underinsured adults to remove a cost barrier. Making these extra doses easily available means more people can get vaccinated. Getting vaccinated protects the person getting the shot and helps protect people at highest risk for complications, like babies and pregnant women.
The Tdap vaccine is for people 11 and older and can be found by contacting your health care provider, local health agency, or pharmacy. Only one shot is needed. Younger children need five doses of DTaP by the time they’re seven for best protection. It takes about two weeks from the time of vaccination to be protected.
For more information about the epidemic, visit the Department of Health whooping cough epidemic website. The Department of Health website (doh.wa.gov) is your source for a healthy dose of information. Also, find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.