Due to the rise in Pertussis, or Whooping Cough, in North Carolina as well as nationally, the Richmond County Health Department will sponsor a walk-in immunization clinic on Tuesday, Sept. 11. The clinic will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Health Department, located at 127 Carolina Street in Rockingham.
Whooping cough can be a very serious disease, the Health Department said, particularly for infants less than one year of age. Since it is quite contagious, the disease can easily spread through the air from a sick person while talking, sneezing or coughing.
Whooping cough begins with symptoms similar to a common cold. Children often develop coughing fits, especially at night, giving a high-pitched “whoop” sound. The “whoop” is a sign that the person is struggling to breathe between coughs. Although deaths are rare, the department said, they do occur.
Health officials are recommending Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis) vaccine to both children and adults. Children entering the 6th grade are required by law to be immunized with the Tdap vaccine, and it is also recommended for adults, especially if they have contact with children (parents, grandparents, household contacts, child care providers and health care personnel). Persons having a preexisting chronic respiratory disease are also recommended to have the Tdap vaccine.
The North Carolina Immunization Program is currently offering the Tdap vaccine for free, but does not anticipate doing so after Sept. 30. The Richmond County Health Department will provide the after hours clinic on Tuesday for the convenience of county residents.
The Health Department will also offer other immunizations needed for children and adults at that time.
For more information, call the Health Department at 910-997-8300.
Immunizations may also be given by appointment on Monday through Friday. To make an appointment, call 910-997-8301.