NATIONAL INFANT IMMUNIZATION WEEK
La Paz County, AZ- La Paz County Health Department is pleased to announce National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW); an annual observance to highlight the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases, April 26th-May 1st. Whopping cough (pertussis) is a fast growing concern in the United States and Arizona where rates are at an all-time high since 1950. Pertussis is a vaccine-preventable disease that causes severe coughing in all ages, but it is more likely to kill infants. The Tdap (tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis vaccine) is the best way to protect against pertussis but vaccination rates are staggering low among the group that spreads it the most: adults.
“56% of infant pertussis cases can be traced back to an adult spreader because only 14% of adults were vaccinated for pertussis in 2012 ,” said Diana Grazier, Director of Nursing for La Paz County Health Department. “In order to protect the youngest in our communities, adults should come in for a Tdap vaccination, especially if they are pregnant, live with an infant or care for an infant.”
Pertussis is known for uncontrollable, violent coughing which often makes it hard to breathe. After fits of many coughs, someone with pertussis takes deep breathes which result in a "whooping" sound. Pertussis most commonly affects infants and young children and can be fatal, especially in babies less than 1 year of age. Each year, 10,000 to 40,000 cases of pertussis are reported. Out of those cases, many lead to hospitalization. Infants are at greatest risk for getting pertussis and then having severe complications from it, including death. About half of infants younger than 1 year old who get pertussis are hospitalized, and 1 or 2 in 100 hospitalized infants die.
“Infants are especially vulnerable. That’s why we target the adults in order to create a cocoon of protection,” said Grazier. Adults need just one Tdap vaccination and La Paz County Health Department has it. Tdap is $40 at the health department or free to adults with no insurance but it is in limited supplies so please call ahead, 669-1100. Residents can also talk to their healthcare provider about the Tdap vaccine. For more information, visit www.lpchd.com.