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Safeway helps California rein in whooping cough outbreak
October 13th, 2010
PLEASANTON, Calif. – Safeway Inc. pharmacies in California are responding to the state's whooping cough emergency and are now providing a booster vaccine.
The food and drug retailer said Wednesday that the Adacel booster vaccine for whooping cough, or pertussis, is available on a walk-in basis at its pharmacy stores under the Safeway, Vons and Pavilions banners. Adacel can be administered to people ages 11 to 64.
Safeway noted that California's incidences of whooping cough have reached a 60-year high, with more than 5,200 confirmed, suspected and possible cases this year, according to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). As a result, the supermarket chain said, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger recently signed a bill requiring seventh- through 12th-grade students to get a whooping cough booster shot before the start of the next school year.
Adults should also consider receiving a whooping cough booster shot, especially if they are in frequent contact with infants, according to Safeway. Though many infants receive the vaccination as part of their normal well-baby visits, the first dose is only given at 2 months of age, leaving newborns particularly vulnerable to whooping cough.
To help protect those most at risk of serious illness and death, the CDPH is urging adolescents and any adult who may have contact with infants — such as parents, grandparents, and health care and child care providers — to also consider a booster shot. Shots received as an infant typically wear off by the time a child reaches middle school. Neither vaccination nor illness from pertussis provides lifetime immunity.
Pertussis is a highly contagious bacterial illness spread by coughs and sneezes. People who have contracted whooping cough have severe coughing attacks. A typical case starts with a cough and runny nose for one to two weeks, followed by weeks of rapid coughing fits that sometimes end with a "whooping" sound.