Colorado governor appears in PSA for whooping cough vaccine

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper is appearing in a Colorado health department campaign to raise the rates of childhood vaccination, especially the rates of vaccination against whooping cough.

The public service announcement promotes the vaccine against whooping cough, which is also known as pertussis. In the PSA, Hickenlooper says that his son was hospitalized as an infant for two days as a result of pertussis and that parents should get their children immunized, Associated Press reports.

The vaccine for whooping cough is administered in a series of doses. Megan Castle, a spokeswoman for Hickenlooper, said on Monday that Hickenlooper's son received one dose and was exposed to the childhood illness four days prior to his scheduled second dose.

Health officials in Colorado said that 14 cases of pertussis were recently confirmed in Greeley. Washington state has had more than 1,900 cases of the disease this year.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pertussis is caused by the Bordetella pertussis bacteria. Pertussis is one of the most commonly occurring vaccine-preventable diseases in the United States. Symptoms begin with common cold symptoms like sneezing, congestion and possibly a fever or mild cough. After one to two weeks, severe coughing can begin and may last for weeks without treatment.