Vaccines: We all need to be protected

Vaccines offer the best protection when given at the right time. For us the choice is clear: vaccinating is the healthy, safe thing to do. 

Health tips from Providence’s Lindsay Kleps, FNP

What is pertussis (whooping cough)?

Pertussis is a highly contagious bacterial disease that causes severe coughing spells which can lead to difficulty breathing, vomiting, and disturbed sleep. “The disease usually starts with cold-like symptoms and maybe a mild cough or fever, “ says Lindsay Kleps, FNP, from Providence Health eXpress, located in the Labor and Industries Building in Salem. “Unlike the common cold, pertussis can become a series of violent and rapid coughing fits that continue for weeks. Infants can have little or no cough, but instead experience life-threatening pauses in breathing (apnea).”

Just two years ago, more than 600 cases were reported in Oregon, mostly from the metro area. The highest rates of reported infection are in two age groups:

  • Infants under age 1 year
  • Children age 10-13 years

Adults: 19 and older

Children are not the only population that needs vaccination. Adults may be at risk for diseases and complications brought on by disease if they have not had the disease or have not been vaccinated against the disease.

Some vaccines require a booster shot to keep up your immunity. Kleps notes, “The Tdap vaccine provides immunity to 3 diseases: tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis. It is one of the vaccines recommended for adults over the age of 19 as a booster.” View the Tdap vaccine information statement.

Who should get the Pertussis vaccination?

  • All pregnant women should be vaccinated with a one-time dose of pertussis (Tdap) vaccine (after 20 weeks gestation).
  • Caregivers in regular contact with small children, such as parents, siblings (older than age 10), grandparents and babysitters.
  • Adults who need a tetanus booster. (Tdap should be administered when an adult patient needs a tetanus booster.) If you are uncertain about your last immunization date, Tdap is safe to receive no matter when you last received the vaccine.
Call your doctor's office to see if you our your dependents need a Tdap vaccine.