The North Dakota Department of Health has begun supplying tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis vaccines to health care providers at no cost for any adolescent or adult in need of vaccination, according to a news release.
The vaccines will be provided for free for a limited time to local public health units and private health care providers enrolled in the department’s Immunization Program. Health care providers may charge a small fee to administer the vaccine.
A booster dose of tetanus and diphtheria vaccine is recommended at least every 10 years, the department said. For people younger than 65, one of the booster doses should be Tdap, which also protects against pertussis (whooping cough), to help ensure they don’t pass whooping cough to infants or get the disease themselves. In addition, a dose of Tdap is recommended for adolescents at ages 11 or 12 and is required for all North Dakota adolescents attending middle school.
Many states are experiencing outbreaks of pertussis, the department said. North Dakota experienced an outbreak in 2004, when 757 cases occurred. So far in 2010, 19 cases of pertussis have been reported in North Dakota.
Most adolescents and adults in North Dakota are not protected against pertussis, said Molly Sander, Immunization Program manager. About 48 percent of North Dakota adolescents received a dose of Tdap, and even fewer adults are adequately vaccinated with Tdap, she said.
People interested in being vaccinated or wondering if they are up-to-date on their vaccinations should contact their local public health unit or health care provider.
For more information, contact Sander at 701-328-2378.