FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 1, 2010
County’s Whooping Cough Prevention Plan Focuses on Parents,
Schools, Doctors, and Child Care
SAN MATEO, Calif. — San Mateo County Health System is launching a comprehensive outreach plan to protect County residents – particularly infants who are too young to be vaccinated - from the statewide whooping cough epidemic. The Health System will collaborate with parents, doctors, schools, hospitals, child care centers and other County departments to raise awareness about whooping cough, also known as pertussis, and encourage people to get vaccinated. There are two vaccines for pertussis – DTaP, which is given to children in five shots between birth and kindergarten, and the Tdap booster shot, which is given to teens and adults. For more information about pertussis, and to find out where to get vaccinated, visit www.smhealth.org/pertussis.
The outreach plan includes:
Because most infants with whooping cough get it from their parents, the outreach campaign will encourage parents to protect infants by making sure all people living with newborns are vaccinated. The Health System will provide information about Tdap vaccine availability to new parents attending birthing and infant care classes, and to parents picking up birth certificates at the Vital Statistics office.
Health System staff will communicate with mothers groups, emphasizing the importance of vaccination and distribute written information through the groups’ newsletters, websites and email blasts.
Health System staff will present and distribute information to school nurses, teachers and administrators about pertussis signs and symptoms and the importance of making sure students are up to date with their vaccination schedules.
The Health System will partner with local schools to encourage middle school students to get the Tdap booster shot between ages 10-12 and remind parents to make sure their children are up to date with their immunization schedules.
Doctors and Healthcare Providers
The Health System will partner with healthcare providers to ensure they are aware of current treatment, testing, and vaccination recommendations. They will also remind providers to report cases to the Health System so that people in close contact with the person with pertussis can be treated and protected quickly and appropriately.
The Health System will partner with hospitals to ensure the Tdap vaccine is offered to women after delivery, patients who go to the emergency room without a vaccine history on record, and hospital staff.
Child Care Centers
Health System staff will present information about whooping cough at child care centers and encourage child care workers to get their Tdap booster shot every 10 years.
Other County Departments
The Health System will collaborate with the other County departments serving families of newborns and young children to raise awareness about whooping cough, including First 5 San Mateo, WIC (Women Infants and Children), and Family Health’s Pre-to-Three program.