Contact: Jeanene Fowler, Maricopa County Public Health; 602-722-1806
Maricopa County Kicks off National Infant Immunization Week
Records Infant Pertussis Death
Phoenix (April 24, 2012)– This week kicks off National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW), an annual observance to highlight the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases and to celebrate the achievements of immunization programs in promoting healthy communities throughout the United States.
Sadly, Maricopa County Public Health is also announcing its first recorded pertussis (whooping cough) death in an infant since 2009. The infant was too young to be vaccinated and more than likely contracted the disease from an adult.
In 2011, nearly 700 cases of whooping cough were reported in Maricopa County including dozens of infants. This is a 41% increase over the previous year and over double the number of cases reported in 2009
“We need families to build a ‘cocoon’ around the newborn, meaning that everyone around the newborn; mom, dad, sisters, brother grandma, grandpa…everyone is up to date on their vaccinations, especially Tdap,” said Dr. Bob England, director of Maricopa County Public Health.
Diphtheria Tetanus and acellular Pertussis or DTaP vaccine is given to children beginning at age 2 months. Over time, adolescents lose their immunity and require an additional booster. This booster dose known as Tdap, can be given to adolescents and adults and is especially critical for people who are around newborns, whom are too young to have any protection against pertussis but are most vulnerable to experience major complications.
· All persons who are close contacts of infants younger than 12 months of age (e.g., parents, grandparents, and child-care providers) and who have not received Tdap previously.
· Pregnant women during later pregnancy.
· Other adults who are close contacts of children younger than 12 months of age.
If you are in need of Tdap vaccine, please contact your healthcare provider or visit The Arizona Partnership for Immunization at http://www.whyimmunize.org.