According to the RI Department of Health, as of Friday afternoon, four cases of pertussis (commonly known as "whooping cough") have been confirmed in Coventry students. The Department is recommending vaccinations for both children and adults in town.
"The best protection against pertussis and influenza is vaccination," said Michael Fine, M.D., director of HEALTH Friday. "Any child who is not up to date on his or her pertussis vaccination should be vaccinated, and we encourage all unvaccinated adults to get a Tdap vaccine as well."
A community vaccination clinic is scheduled for Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Coventry High School.
Based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HEALTH encourages anyone age 10 or older who has not previously received a Tdap vaccine and lives in Coventry to get vaccinated. It is especially important for the following individuals to be vaccinated:
- Coventry students ages 10 and older who need to receive Tdap (This will meet the Grade 7 vaccination requirement)
- Pregnant women and anyone in their household (Pregnant women should be at least 20 weeks into the gestation period)
- Anyone in close contact with or caring for an infant less than one year old
- Anyone with a weakened immune system or other chronic disease (such as asthma, heart disease, diabetes, etc.) and anyone in their household
- Professionals, including school staff, daycare workers, and healthcare workers
- All adults, including those ages 65 and older
Individuals may receive all three of the vaccinations offered during one clinic visit.
Those who have health insurance should bring their health insurance card to the clinic. Those who are uninsured will be vaccinated at no cost to the individual.
Pertussis is caused by a bacterial infection of the lungs. It's highly contagious but preventable with a vaccine.
According to Asst. Superintendent Mike Convery, a town-wide phone call will be going out Friday night around 7 p.m. to disseminate information about Saturday's vaccination clinic.