Placer County Offering No-Cost Vaccines For Pertussis And Influenza

California saw the largest number of reported cases of pertussis in 63 years. Statewide, there were 8,383 reported cases in 2010 and 50 of these cases were in Placer County. These 2010 numbers represent a five-fold increase over the number of cases in 2009 for both the State and the County.

A proven strategy to protect against this disease, and against seasonal influenza, is by getting a vaccination. Both diseases can cause significant illness in children, and are easily spread among them.

Placer County Community Health, in collaboration with the California Department of Public Health and school districts in Placer County, has a unique opportunity to offer five, no-cost vaccination clinics for county residents. The clinics, which will offer influenza and pertussis vaccines, are scheduled at school sites located throughout the county.

Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious disease spread by coughing and sneezing. Vaccination is the best defense against whooping cough, but immunity wears off over time. As a result, pertussis continues to circulate widely in California, and has resulted in some hospitalizations and, in some cases deaths, among infants who were too young to receive vaccinations. Anyone who is around infants is strongly encouraged to be vaccinated.

Influenza, or “flu”, can be more dangerous to children than the common cold. Flu shots are recommended to all infants over six months of age, and to all children and adults. An important way to protect against seasonal flu and its complications is to get a seasonal vaccine each year. Flu Mist, the nasal mist vaccine, will also be available.

“Unfortunately, the five-fold increase in cases this past year indicates that the epidemic has hit Placer County at the same time it has hit the State as a whole,” said Dr. Richard Burton, Placer County Director of Health and Human Services. “The symptoms of pertussis are initially similar to the common cold and could include a runny nose, fever and diarrhea, but severe episodes of coughing can begin within one to two weeks. Vaccination is an important tool in efforts to prevent this disease, so we are pleased to be able to offer the pertussis vaccine as well as the flu vaccine with our local school partners.”

Always check with your doctor if your infant has a respiratory illness, or if an older child or adult develops any symptoms worse than the common cold.

Clinics are scheduled at the following locations and dates:

* Auburn: Wed., Feb. 2, 2011. 11 3:00-6:00 p.m. Bowman Elementary School, 13777 Bowman Rd,;
* Kings Beach: Thurs., Feb 3, 2011. 2:00-5:30 p.m. Kings Beach Elementary, 8125 Steelhead;
* Lincoln: Tues., Feb 8, 2011. 4:00-6:30 p.m. Glen Edwards Middle School, 204 L St.;
* Rocklin: Wed., Feb 9, 2011. 4:00-7:00 p.m. Spring View Middle School, 5040 Fifth St.; and
* Roseville: Thurs., Feb 10, 2011. 4:00-7:00 p.m. Buljan Middle School, 100 Hallissy Dr.

Those with questions about these vaccine clinics, pertussis or influenza can call Placer County Community Health at (530) 889-7141 or check the web site by clicking on this link: Vaccines.