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Obstacles to Whooping Cough Vaccination

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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, July 26, 2010
California health officials say whooping cough has reached epidemic levels. Part of the reason for the quick spread of the infection is state law doesn't require children to get immunization booster shots before heading to middle school. That's around the age the initial vaccination begins to wear off. Another issue, according to the state's head epidemiologist Gil Chavez is doctors and parents aren't spotting early signs of the infection.

"Frequently you see there was delayed identification of the deceased, and delayed treatment, so I think early treatment goes a long way," says Chavez.

There have also been hang-ups in delivering the vaccine in California's rural areas, where the shots cost more for doctors to administer.  Whooping cough causes involuntary, high pitch wheezing and coughing, and infants are especially susceptible to the infection.

California health officials say almost everyone in the state should receive a vaccination for whooping cough. Since the beginning of this year, six infants died from the infection, and more than 1500 Californians have been sickened.
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