Vermont Declares Whooping Cough Epidemic

Urges adults to get vaccinated
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 14, 2012 2:49 PM CST
A student gets a Tdap shot, which inoculates against whooping cough among other things, in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

(Newser) – Vermont is officially in the midst of a whooping cough epidemic, the state's department of health has declared, urging everyone age 19 and older to get vaccinated. As of the end of last week there had been 522 reported cases of the disease, formally known as pertussis, the Burlington Free Press reports, and while about 90% of children in the state have been vaccinated, only about 10% of adults can say the same, since the adult booster has only been available since 2006.

Free clinics to correct that oversight will be set up at regional health offices to help adults get the shot. Of course, most of the infections so far have been in already-vaccinated children, with the greatest number of infections occurring in 10- to 14-year-olds, so the vaccine's protection is hardly impregnable. The CDC estimates that Tdap, the adult version of the vaccine, protects only about seven of 10 people who receive it. (Read more whooping cough stories.)

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