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Health officials recommending pertussis vaccinations

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By Gaby Zastrocky

Jefferson County Public Health is recommending whooping cough vaccinations and booster shots for all children and adults, especially child-care workers and anyone who interacts with infants.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported 715 cases of whooping cough — also known has pertussis — between Jan. 1 and Aug. 11, and has called the illness an epidemic, said Nancy Braden, spokeswoman for Jeffco Public Health.

“There is a big push by public health (departments) in this state and in other states to get more people up to date on their vaccinations,” Braden said.

Whooping cough is a contagious bacterial infection spread by coughing or sneezing. It’s known for its long-lasting and often severe cough, and can be life-threatening in infants and young children.

Infants normally are vaccinated starting at 2 months with the four-part DTaP vaccine for diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis,but before that, they are especially susceptible, which is in part why the department recommends booster shots for adults.

“You can see that those infants younger than 2 months have no protection,” Braden said.

Braden said the adult vaccination, the Tdap, also immunizes for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis.

The department has seen evidence that the adult pertussis vaccination may not be effective to the fight the infection anymore, so it is recommending the booster shot.

“Regardless of your age, you can protect yourself from pertussis,” Braden said.

MRC clinic offers vaccinations

The Mountain Resource Center pediatric clinic is offering Tdap and DTaP vaccinations for $14.50 for children younger than 18 who do not have insurance. Call 303-838-8035 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Jeffco Public Health also offers low-cost vaccinations and boosters for whooping cough. Call 303-232-6301 for more information or to schedule an appointment.