County to host immunization clinics

Published 5:45 pm Friday, July 16, 2010

The Crenshaw County Health Department will be hosting walk-in immunization clinics on August 4 and 5 as part of an ongoing program to remind adolescents and youth about vaccines.

Adolescents and youth should receive at least one dose of Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) vaccine in place of one of their regular tetanus boosters.

Pertussis (whooping cough) cases have increased in the United States and in Alabama.

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One of the highest rates of infection is in the adolescent age group.

Since the 1980s, there has been an increase in the number of cases of pertussis, especially among teenagers and babies less than six months old.

Vaccine protection for pertussis, tetanus and diptheria can fade with time.

Before 2005, the only booster vaccine available contained tetanus and diphteria (called Td), and was recommended for adolescents and adults every 10 years.

Today there are boosters for adolescents and adults that contain tetanus, diptheria and pertussis (called Tdap).

Pre-teens going to the doctor for their regular check-up at age 11 or 12 should get a dose of Tdap.

Getting vaccinated with Tdap is especially important for families with or caregivers of new infants, including grandparents up to age 65 years old.

Also, all school students 11 years old and older who enter the sixth grade this upcoming school year will be required to have a new certificate of immunizations (blue slip) which includes an up-to-date Tdap booster.

The Health Department encourages parents to get their children’s Tdap vaccination while they are out of school this summer. Many doctors’ offices are providing Tdap boosters or you can call your county health department to schedule a vaccination.

Because one of the highest rates of whooping cough disease nationally is in adolescents, the Tdap vaccine will help prevent pertussis in adolescents as well as keep from spreading the disease to their siblings, other family members (especially infants) and other students.

For more information, contact the Crenshaw County Health Department at 335-2471.