Local News

Dec 19, 2013 5:00 PM

Infant's Death Leads to Increased Demand for Pertussis Vaccinations

CORPUS CHRISTI - The City-County Health Department is getting a lot of calls about vaccinations for whooping cough after the death of an infant this week.

Health officials called a news conference early Wednesday to draw attention to the increase in cases. A few hours later, the news came down that an newborn had died from whooping cough, also known as pertussis.

Director of Immunizations Lala Yerger said that the calls have been pouring in from people who want to know how to protect themselves and their families.

Public health workers acknowledged that yesterdays death, the fourth fatality linked to whooping cough in Texas this year, is heartbreaking.

Public Health Director Annette Rodriguez also recognized that there is an important lesson to be learned.

"I'm glad to see that they're calling and they want to come in and get their vaccines and they want to make sure that the infants that they're around are protected."

The Health Department's immunization clinic offers the TDAP vaccine for $60 dollars. And for those without insurance, they can apply to get the shot for just $10 dollars.

Nurses insist that the process is relatively simple.

Patients must complete paperwork before their information can be entered into the Health Department's computer system. Then, a nurse reviews their information and asks a few basic health questions. Finally, the nurse will administer the actual injection.

The clinic is also making special accommodations to vaccinate as many people as they can, given the increase in demand.

"We go by appointments," Yerger said. "But when we hit a situation like this we will do everything possible to get them in on the spot."

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