On Aug. 24, Alberta Health Services issued an update on whooping cough in the AHS south zone and remind those who have children aged 10-12 to receive a booster shot. The booster, however, is only being made available until Aug. 31, according to the statement.
“Alberta Health Services (AHS) has begun offering a booster dose of immunization that protects against pertussis (whooping cough). Children aged 10, 11 and 12 with a birth date between September 1, 2004 and August 21, 2007, who are living or attending school in the South Zone of AHS, are eligible for this booster dose, now through August 31 only.”
The booster dose is free of charge and available to these specific children only, by appointment at clinics in communities across the South Zone. All parents of eligible children are strongly encouraged to call and book an appointment for these clinics, as soon as possible.
A pertussis outbreak is ongoing in the South Zone. A review of confirmed cases has shown an increase in breakthrough illness in children aged 11 and 12 who are otherwise considered appropriately immunized for their age.
The booster dose being offered is safe and effective, regardless of previous immunization history, and will protect children in this age range from pertussis illness, while helping to control further spread of the ongoing outbreak.
In 2017 to date, 305 cases of pertussis have been confirmed in South Zone, of which 257 are linked to the current outbreak.
Pertussis is a vaccine-preventable illness, and immunization that protects against pertussis is offered, free of charge, through Alberta’s Routine Childhood Immunization Program. All Albertans are always encouraged to ensure that they, and their children, are up-to-date on all routine immunizations, including immunizations that protect against pertussis. Information on routine childhood immunizations can be found at http://www.immunizealberta.ca.
For more information on the South Zone pertussis outbreak, the booster dose strategy, as well as booster dose clinic dates, locations and telephone numbers to book an appointment, South Zone residents are asked to visit http://www.ahs.ca/pertussis.
Anyone with questions or concerns about pertussis, or their immunization history, can also call Health Link at 811.