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McHenry County Department of Health begins whooping cough campaign

WOODSTOCK – The McHenry County Department of Health will begin its latest campaign to educate about the importance of Tdap (whooping cough) vaccinations to protect infants who are not fully vaccinated and adolescents with waning vaccinations.

In preparation for the school year, 57 staff members at Cary-Grove High School helped kick off the health department’s campaign with a vaccination clinic for its staff.

Dominick’s Pharmacy provided the vaccine, continuing a partnership that began during the 2011 pertussis outbreak.

McHenry County reported 165 cases of pertussis in 2011 and 233 cases so far in 2012. During these outbreaks, three infants were hospitalized. They recovered. 

The Illinois Department of Health has recorded more than 1,200 cases this year as of Aug. 1. 

Although most children are vaccinated against pertussis as infants, protection wanes over time. This puts pre-teens, teenagers and adults at risk for the illness. The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a booster shot for everyone ages 11 and older.

The Illinois Department of Public Health issued a vaccine requirement for the 2012-13 school year for students entering sixth and ninth grade to show proof of Tdap vaccination, which is endorsed by the Illinois State Superintendent of Education. 

The health department’s campaign also will target parents, grandparents, day care providers, preschool teachers and people who frequent hospital and office settings.

Pertussis education messages will be distributed through fliers, posters, newsletters, the Internet, clinics and training sessions for health care professionals.

The health department provides vaccinations to uninsured and underinsured families through the federal program Vaccine for Children.

Vaccinations also are available through health care providers and local retailers.

For information about pertussis, call the health department’s clinic at 815-334-4500 or visit www.mcdh.info.

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