July 10, 2014
Twenty-three cases of pertussis, commonly known as “whooping
cough,” have been reported in the Coastal Bend area of Texas so far this year. Nine
people were hospitalized from the contagious respiratory disease that can be
prevented with a vaccination.
Physicians from Medical Arts Clinic in Portland want to
combat the disease. They recently received a $2,000 grant from Texas Medical
Association’s (TMA’s) Be
Local Grants Program for vaccine to protect Coastal Bend residents from pertussis.
Local residents can receive a free Tdap vaccination that
protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis on Aug. 16 from 9 am to 3
pm at a health fair at the First United Methodist Church of Portland. The
health fair also will include sports physicals and other health screenings for
people of all ages.
James Mobley, MD, a family physician at Medical Arts Clinic,
says pertussis is a dangerous but preventable illness. “However, for babies
below the age of 6 months, pertussis can be deadly,” added Dr. Mobley.
The pertussis vaccine is recommended for adolescents and
adults, especially those in contact with newborns. Babies cannot receive their
first pertussis vaccine until they are 2 months old, and they are not fully
protected until they receive multiple doses, usually when they reach 15 to 18
“By providing Tdap vaccination to a parent or grandparent,
we can protect young infants who have not completed their pertussis series,”
said Dr. Mobley. Vaccinating those around newborns is called “cocooning,” as in
wrapping the baby in a protective cocoon against the disease.
for Disease Control and Prevention reports that half of infants who
contract whooping cough are hospitalized. The Texas Department of State Health
Services reports most infant mortalities from whooping cough occur when the
mother has not received a pertussis vaccination.
Nearly 4,000 cases of pertussis were reported in Texas in
2013, the highest rate in 10 years, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. One of the five
infants who died of pertussis was from Nueces County, its first death from
pertussis in more than 10 years.
Medical Arts Clinic will provide approximately 300 Tdap
vaccinations at no cost with help from these local organizations: First
Methodist Church of Portland, San Patricio County Department of Public Health,
Regional Health Awareness Board, San Patricio County, Nueces County, and City
of Corpus Christi.
The Be Wise — Immunize Local Impact Grants help Texas
communities provide free and low-cost vaccinations to uninsured Texans. Since
2012, 26 grants totaling more than $40,000 have been awarded to Texas
communities to improve Texans’ health. Be Wise — Immunize and the Local Impact
Grants are funded by the TMA Foundation (TMAF), thanks to generous support from H-E-B and TMF Health Quality Institute,
and gifts from physicians and their families.
“TMA Foundation and its donors are proud to support this
effort because immunizations prevent serious diseases and help us live a
healthier life,” said TMAF President G. Sealy Massingill, MD.
TMA is the largest
state medical society in the nation, representing more than 47,000 physician
and medical student members. It is located in Austin and has 112 component
county medical societies around the state. TMA’s key objective since 1853 is to
improve the health of all Texans. TMA Foundation is the philanthropic arm of
the association and raises funds to support the public health and science
priority initiatives of TMA and the family of medicine.
Wise — Immunize is a service mark of the Texas Medical Association.
Pam Udall (512) 370-1382; cell: (512)
413-6807; email: pam.udall[at]texmed[dot]org
Brent Annear (512) 370-1381; cell: (512) 656-7320; email: brent.annear[at]texmed[dot]org