Recommendation for whooping cough vaccine broadens

FRESNO, Calif.

Just recently a 1-month-old baby boy in San Diego became the seventh infant to die of the illness this year in California.

Recently there was a push to get adolescents and adults vaccinated; now anyone in contact with pregnant women or infants is encouraged to protect themselves and others.

One infant death has been related to whooping cough here in Fresno County, the disease is blamed in 7 infant deaths across the state.

State health officials have now broadened recommendations on who should get the vaccine to include anyone 7 years and older, women of childbearing age before, during or immediately after pregnancy, and most recently adults over the age of 64.

"There is a population out there when you talk about grandparents with infants that if they get sick can transmit to infants who are not protected," David Luchini with the Fresno County Health Department said.

According to California health officials, more than 2,000 Californians have been diagnosed with whooping cough. That's six times normal levels this time of year. There are currently 412 reported cases in Fresno County.

Infants should complete 5 doses of the DTaP vaccine by the time they begin kindergarten.

The booster for adolescents and adults it called DTaP, both fight whooping cough, tetanus and diphtheria.

Luchini says in the beginning it was tough to get medical providers to push the vaccine because of the costs. He says now that's changing.

"We're encouraging providers to order the DtaP vaccine. We always tell people the check with their provider first. If that provider does not have the vaccine they can come here to the health immunization clinic. We don't turn anyone away," Luchini said.

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