A big story in the news in 2012 was that pertussis, more commonly known as whooping cough, had been making a troublesome return across North America. Whooping cough is an infectious disease that can be especially dangerous for infants and young children. Word of its recent resurgence is certainly worrisome and naturally you, members of the QPAM community, had a number of questions.
The most common questions we received had been about the pertussis vaccination schedule.
The immunization schedule gives pertussis (the vaccine is grouped with tetanus and diphtheria) at 2, 4, 6, and 15-18 months, as well as 4-5 years of age. This equals 5 shots by age 6 with a booster later on in the teens. The purpose of the teen booster is to prevent adults from passing the disease on to infants, especially in those two months before the first vaccine.
The pertussis vaccine is a good one and skipping it is currently being considered as one of the main reasons for the recent resurgence in whooping cough.
If your child or teen is starting their pertussis vaccinations late or is more than one month behind, here is a chart from the Centre for Disease Control outlining the catch-up schedule (the vaccine is listed as “diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis” on the chart).
If you have any other questions or concerns about whooping cough or the pertussis vaccine, please contact your family doctor or the Hastings and Prince Edward Counties Health Unit at 613-966-5500.