Last updateThu, 29 Jan 2015 3pm

County Health Department offering free vaccinations

    According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the United States saw nearly 42,000 cases of the whooping cough (pertussis) in 2012—the most since 1955. The state government has recognized the increase in whooping cough and is taking steps to help prevent more cases by supplying county health departments with free vaccinations. The Crawford County Health Department will be holding two mass vaccination clinics for the Tdap vaccine July 17 and July 26 free of charge.

    Before 2005, this vaccine, called a Td booster, only covered Tetanus and Diphtheria. In 2005, the Pertussis vaccine was added to create the Tdap vaccine. It is the first vaccine for adolescents and adults that protects against all three illnesses.
    Tetanus causes painful muscle spasms and stiffness, usually all over the body. Dephtheria can cause a thick membrane to cover the back of the throat, leading to breathing problems, paralysis, heart failure, and even death. Pertussis, or whooping cough, causes severe coughing spells which can lead to difficulty breathing, vomiting, and disturbed sleep.
    Whooping cough can also lead to weight loss, incontinence, rib fractures, and passing out from violent coughing. Diphtheria and Pertussis are caused by bacteria spread from person to person. Tetanus enters the body through cuts, scratches, or wounds.
    All students entering, advancing, or transferring into seventh grade will need proof of an adolescent whooping cough booster immunization for school in the fall.
    This vaccine is a one-time dose, meaning a person only needs it once in their lifetime. It is recommended for anyone over the age of 11 who has never had a tetanus shot and those adults who have close contact with babies and children. Pregnant women further than 20 weeks of gestation should also consider getting this vaccine and must have a signed release from their doctor. Children 18 or younger must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
    There is no charge for this vaccine during the two clinic days, and vaccines will be given on a walk-in basis. No appointment is necessary.
    For more information, visit the Crawford County Health Department at 202 Main Street in Steelville or call (573) 775-2555.