State: More adults get whooping cough vaccine

June 12, 2012

By Staff

The ongoing whooping cough epidemic in Washington is driving increased demand for the vaccine among adults, state health officials reported June 5.

Between March 25 and May 26, the state immunization registry recorded 82,453 doses of Tdap, as the whooping cough vaccine is called, for adults age 19 and older — more than double the 34,171 doses recorded in the same time period last year.

Data from health plans also shows the uptick. Group Health gave almost 60 percent more Tdap to adults in April 2012 compared to April 2011. Premera Blue Cross is experiencing a similar trend. Tdap vaccinations in April 2012 rose by more than 70 percent for members compared to the average month.

The number of reported whooping cough, or pertussis, cases in Washington is 2,092 — the highest since the 1940s.

Pertussis is highly contagious and spreads easily from person to person through coughing and sneezing. The disease is most serious for children, especially infants too young to receive the vaccination. Pertussis causes cold-like systems followed by a long, severe cough.

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