Pa Health Department offers free Tdap vaccines at Chambersburg High School

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HARRISBURG, Pa. – Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Karen Murphy has announced the department will again provide free tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis, or Tdap, vaccines to residents in the Chambersburg/Shippensburg areas of Cumberland and Franklin counties because of a localized rise in cases of pertussis (whooping cough). To date, 47 cases of pertussis have been confirmed in the area.

The Tdap clinics will be held from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM, Tuesday, November 15, and Wednesday, November 16, at Chambersburg Area Senior High School, 511 S. 6th Street, Chambersburg. The department vaccinated 236 people at a Tdap clinic held Friday, November 11, at the same location. Tdap vaccines are also available from health care providers.

“Tdap vaccines should be given to women during each pregnancy, as well as to individuals over the age of 10 who have never received the vaccine,” said Secretary Murphy. “Being up to date on your Tdap vaccine not only protects you, it also helps to ensure you don’t spread the illness to infants who are too young to get vaccinated. If you or your loved ones have symptoms of whooping cough, contact your health care provider right away.”

The pertussis vaccine is recommended for children to enter school. Because immunity from the vaccine fades over time, most adolescents and adults are susceptible to the disease. In addition to the typical childhood series of pertussis immunizations at 2, 4, 6, 15-18 months and a booster at 4-6 years, the department recommends the adolescent-adult pertussis vaccine, tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis, or Tdap, booster for:

  • Individuals 10-64 years of age who are not fully immunized;
  • Pregnant women during each pregnancy, preferably between 27 and 36 weeks gestation. Women who have never received Tdap and who do not receive it during pregnancy should receive it immediately postpartum;
  • People who have contact with pregnant women or infants too young to have received a full series of vaccinations; and
  • All family members and caregivers of infants who are not old enough to get vaccinated against pertussis.

Pertussis is an infection of the respiratory system and is characterized by severe coughing spells that end in a “whooping” sound when the person breathes in. The first symptoms of whooping cough are similar to those of a common cold including runny nose, sneezing, mild cough, and low-grade fever. After about one to two weeks, the dry, irritating cough evolves into coughing spells that can last for more than one minute and can lead to vomiting.

For more information, visit www.vaccinesforlife.com or call 1-877-PA-HEALTH.