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Free Spokane Clinics Provide Whooping Cough Vaccine

September 24, 2013

Silence Whooping Cough campaign educates about risks and ways to prevent the disease

Get immunized to help protect your baby from Pertussis (Whooping Cough).Spokane, WA—The Group Health Foundation, in partnership with Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD), Providence Health Care, and the Washington State University College of Nursing is expanding the Silence Whooping Cough campaign to educate pregnant women and parents about the risks of whooping cough, or pertussis, and the need to protect themselves and their families. A recent national survey from the University of Michigan shows that 61 percent of adults do not know when they were last vaccinated against whooping cough.

“Whooping cough is a serious disease that can be fatal for infants and young children who usually catch it from parents, grandparents, older siblings, and caregivers. Adults and teens often experience milder symptoms from whooping cough and are unaware they have it,” said Jane Dimer MD, an OB/GYN as well as chief of Women’s Health and Maternity Child Clinical Services for Group Health. “Pertussis can be prevented, yet more than 400 cases have been reported in Washington state this year. I urge all parents and caregivers to get the whooping cough booster shot and ensure your kids are up-to-date on their vaccinations.”

As part of the Silence Whooping Cough campaign, free immunization clinics will be held throughout September and into October at the following locations:

  • North Pines Middle School

    September 24 • 5-7 p.m.
    701 N. Pines Rd. | Spokane Valley, 99206 | map
    - All Children (All vaccines) - Uninsured or Under-Insured Adults (Tdap only)
  • Group Health Riverfront Medical Center

    September 28 • 9 a.m.-noon
    322 W. North River Dr. | Spokane, 99201 | map
    - Uninsured or Under-Insured Adults (Tdap only)
  • Sunset School Health Center

    October 3 • 9 a.m.-noon
    12824 W. 12th Ave.,Building C | Airway Heights, 99001 | map
    - All Children (All vaccines)
    - Uninsured or Under-Insured Adults (Tdap only)
  • Providence Medical Group Urgent Care - South Division

    October 5 • 9 a.m.-noon
    421 S. Division Street | Spokane, 99202 | mapwebsite
    - Uninsured or Under-Insured Adults (Tdap only)
  • Providence Medical Group Urgent Care - Hawthorne

    October 12 • 9 a.m.-noon
    551 E. Hawthorne Road | Spokane, 99218 | mapwebsite
    - Uninsured or Under-Insured Adults (Tdap only)

“In Spokane County, we continue to see preventable cases of whooping cough in our community,” said Dr. Joel McCullough, SRHD health officer. “Our worry is that these numbers are a reflection of our community questioning if they really need the shot or not. When it comes to whooping cough, especially when it comes to protecting newborns, vaccination really is the best protection.”

The whooping cough, or Tdap, vaccine is recommended for parents and siblings of young children, and caregivers that come into regular contact with young children. A new recommendation from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urges women to receive the Tdap vaccine between 27-36 weeks of every pregnancy to protect their newborns from the disease.

Infants and children need a series of five DTaP shots between eight weeks and four to six years of age for optimal protection. The protection provided by the childhood whooping cough vaccine series wears off over time, so everyone age 11 and older needs a whooping cough booster vaccine.

Mothers like Suzanne Bassett from Spokane, WA, are all too familiar with the risks of whooping cough and the importance of vaccines. Bassett’s daughter, Abby, contracted whooping cough at just four weeks old and spent five weeks in the hospital, mostly in intensive care, before recovering and going home to her family.

“It was heartbreaking to watch Abby struggle to breathe,” said Bassett. “We know we could have lost her and consider ourselves lucky, but Abby still suffers from chronic lung issues. As a parent, I can’t stress enough how important it is to ensure anyone who comes in contact with your baby is up-to-date on the Tdap vaccine.”

Silence Whooping Cough is a public service campaign funded by the Group Health Foundation. The campaign provides information about whooping cough to the community through a website, social media, and educational materials. A new feature of the campaign allows participants to enter a contest to win a year’s supply of free diapers by going to the Silence Whooping Cough website and sending customizable e-postcards to friends and family to alert them to the importance of getting the Tdap vaccine. Pharmacists at Walgreens, a corporate partner of the campaign, will be promoting the contest at all Walgreens pharmacies in Washington state.

Whooping cough affects the lungs and respiratory system and spreads easily by coughing and sneezing. The infectious disease can be especially serious for infants and young children and can cause trouble breathing, eating, drinking, as well as sleeping, and in some cases can lead to pneumonia, seizures, brain damage and death.

About Group Health Foundation

Group Health Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Group Health Cooperative, a non-profit health system serving more than 612,000 members in Washington state and North Idaho. The Foundation, with support from its donors, funds grants that promote higher immunization rates in Washington state, supports children’s health education, and enables medical teams at Group Health to identify and test care improvements. For more information, visit www.GHC.org.

About Providence Health Care

In eastern Washington, the Providence Health Care regional network consists of 11 integrated health care organizations working together to provide quality health and human services for Inland Northwest residents. It includes Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center & Children’s Hospital, Providence Holy Family Hospital, Providence Mount Carmel Hospital in Colville and Providence St. Joseph’s Hospital in Chewelah; and a full continuum of services including home health, assisted living, adult day health, skilled nursing, a physician division and PAML medical laboratories. Providence Medical Group, the physician division of Providence Health Care, includes more than 400 primary care, specialty care and hospital-based medical providers serving patients throughout Washington, Idaho, Montana and Oregon. Physician clinics are located in Spokane and Stevens counties. For more information, visit www.phc.org .