San Francisco Giant pitches in to fight whooping cough

The San Francisco Giants are working with the San Francisco Immunization Coalition and the Department of Public Health to encourage people to get the whooping cough vaccine.

As part of the campaign, right-handed relief pitcher Sergio Romo received a Tdap shot in his left arm. The Tdap shot vaccinates against tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough, also known as pertussis, the Bay Citizen reports.

Pertussis, a bacterial infection, killed 10 infants and infected over 9,000 Californians last year. So far this year, there have been 2,000 cases reported with no fatalities.

A new state law requires all students in grades seven through 12 be vaccinated with the Tdap vaccine within the first month of the upcoming school year.

During Tuesday's news conference, a brother and sister who contracted the disease in December talked about the coughing fits they fought for months.

“When we would get the coughing attacks, it would just take all the air out of you. Like you wanted to stop, and you just couldn’t breathe anymore," Emily Tobita said, according to the Bay Citizen. "Your throat would hurt, your chest would hurt, your stomach would hurt. At the end of a really bad session, I would end up throwing up."

While the illness kept them out of school for three weeks, the coughing persisted for three months. Neither Emily nor her twin brother Zack had received the Tdap vaccine. When they were diagnosed, the two didn't even know what whooping cough was.

After Romo was asked to take part in the public service campaign, he had his five-year-old son immunized.

“The health of my children is my first priority,” Romo said, according to the Bay Citizen. “It’s just one of those things that if you don’t know about it, or if you don’t tell people about it, it’s going to continue to get bigger and bigger, and we don’t want it to.”