MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2016

New Hampshire immunizes 314 adults against pertussis

New Hampshire's Department of Health and Human Services' Immunization Program, working in conjunction with the Ammonoosuc Community Health Center and the North Country Health Consortium, recently vaccinated 314 adults against pertussis.

Pertussis rates in New Hampshire have been increasing, with 252 cases reported in 2012 compared to 171 in 2011 and 22 in 2010.

The vaccinated adults, who were not eligible to receive the vaccine under the NHIP Adult Vaccine Program because they had insurance but no access to receive the vaccine, were given the opportunity for the vaccine to protect infants in their lives. The 314 adults included parents, grandparents and caregivers.

The vaccination clinic was part of an emergency preparedness exercise that allowed the participants to practice providing vaccines on a large scale while providing a service to the community at the same time. As part of the exercise, residents were given the Tdap vaccine at five locations over three days.

"This is a wonderful example of public health at work," Dr. José Montero, the director of public health at DHHS, said. "Identifying a need, collaborating to meet the need, and protecting the citizens of New Hampshire are all parts of our mission and I commend NHIP and NCHC for this work."

Perussis, a highly contagious respiratory infection, most often affects young children who are particularly susceptible because they are either too young to be vaccinated or have an immune system that is not well-developed.