By Curt Yeomans
The Clayton County Board of Health, eyeing a sharp increase in cases of pertussis -- otherwise known as the whooping cough -- in California last year, is planning to offer a vaccine for the illness at a discounted rate to local child-care workers next week.
Clayton County's health board will offer the TDAP (tetanus, diptheria and acellular pertussis) vaccine from Tuesday, to Friday, at $10 per dose, down from the regular cost of $14, to underinsured and uninsured people. The vaccine will be available from 8 a.m., to 4 p.m., each day, according to Clayton County Board of Health Spokesman Joel Hall.
The discount is only available to child-care workers, such as pre-school and daycare providers who are uninsured, underinsured, or are on Medicare or Medicaid, Hall added.
"We're trying to reach out to these people, and encourage them to get the vaccine, because of the [pertussis] rates we've seen in other states," he said. "All of these are bacterial diseases that are easily preventable, if they get the vaccine."
Hall said the vaccinations are part of the Clayton County Board of Health's observance of National Infant Immunization Week, which begins today. He said anyone who deals with children under the age of 1, including parents, grandparents and other legal guardians, are encouraged to get a TDAP vaccine, to prevent the illness from being spread to infants.
The importance of the TDAP vaccine, Hall said, was underscored last year, when California set an all-time record for the number of pertussis cases reported in one calendar year.
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) figures show that there were 9,477 reported cases of pertussis in California last year, which broke the previous record, set in 2005, of 3,182 reported cases of the disease, according to Hall. He added that there were 10 infant deaths caused by the disease in California last year.
But, Hall later said Georgia also is seeing increases in the number of reported cases of pertussis, although CDC figures that he provided for this state show that it seemingly leveled off from 2009, to 2010.
"According to the CDC, in 2005, Georgia had 79 reported cases of pertussis," said Hall, in a written statement. "In Georgia, there were 230 cases in 2009 -- nearly double the year prior [in 2008, it was 116 reported cases]. There was one reported infant death in Georgia from pertussis in 2009, according to the CDC. In 2010, the number of reported cases in Georgia was 225."
Hall said child-care workers, who wish to receive the vaccine discount, will have to bring a piece of employee identification, or verification from their child-care facility. He said they will be sent through a "fast-track" clinic, so they can get back to their jobs quickly.
For more information about the vaccine, call (678) 610-7424.