The Washoe County Health District is confirming multiple cases of Whooping Cough and the first flu-related death of the season. Why are we seeing these diseases popping up in our community now? Infectious disease specialist, Dr. Natalie Crawford sat down with CBS Reno to discuss vaccine-preventable diseases.
What Is Herd Immunity?
Vaccines help to improve the health of our community by stopping the spread of disease and protecting those who cannot receive immunizations. Herd immunity protects women who are pregnant, infants or others who have compromised immune systems when a high percentage of the population are vaccinated against disease.
“Getting vaccinated not only protects yourself, but also the neighbor who has cancer or your newborn nephew,” says Dr. Crawford. “If our percentage of vaccines for an illness falls below 90 percent then we start to see cases of illness come up and that can be very serious for those unable to be immunized.”
The Vaccination Schedule
Some vaccines require a booster shot, even after childhood vaccinations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend getting a flu shot each year and a vaccination for whooping cough, or pertussis, at various stages in life.
The recent confirmations of Whooping Cough could be for a number of reasons, one of them being that people often forget to have a booster shot.
Whooping Cough Vaccinations Schedule:
- The DTaP is for children under 7 years old at the following ages:
- 2, 4 and 6 months
- 15-18 months
- 4-6 years old
- The Tdap is for children 7 years or older and Adults at the following ages:
- 11-12 years old
- Pregnant Women should receive a vaccination during the 27-36 weeks of each pregnancy.
- Adults should be vaccinated every 10 years, or more frequently if babies are around.
Is it Safe to Get a Vaccine?
“Every parent wants to make sure their child lives a healthy life and the best way to do that is to get them vaccinated,” says Dr. Crawford. “Vaccines have been very rigorously studied for roughly five decades and they are entirely safe.”