Young Adults and Adults Advised to Get Their Free Whooping Cough Booster Shot

Written by admin, August 21, 2012

August 21, 2012 – Today Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, Medical Officer of Health, became the latest adult to get immunized against whooping cough (pertussis) to protect her brand new grandson from catching the potentially deadly disease.

“As a new grandparent, I wanted to make sure my vaccinations were up to date so I wouldn’t inadvertently expose my infant grandson to pertussis which can be fatal to young babies,” said Dr. Salvaterra.  “We are advising everyone over the age of 14 years to get their free pertussis booster shot as soon as possible to protect themselves as well as others from whooping cough.”

While not linked to the other outbreaks happening across Southwestern Ontario, Peterborough Public Health has confirmed 15 local pertussis cases so far this year.  The number of provincial cases has slowed somewhat over the summer but Dr. Salvaterra noted this could change with the resumption of school in September.

The province’s publicly funded immunization program was expanded in 2011 to provide the tetanus booster that also contains pertussis protection for free to adults between the ages of 19 and 64.

Adults, especially those who are in regular contact with children (such as day care workers, parents, and babysitters), are particularly encouraged to get immunized.

Pertussis is a highly contagious bacterial disease that spreads from an infected person to others through coughing or sneezing.  Symptoms are initially mild, and then develop into severe coughing fits.  This cough can last for weeks and makes it hard for a child to eat, drink or even breathe.  Pertussis can also cause prolonged cough illness in adolescents and adults.

Violent coughing can cause a person to vomit or stop breathing for a short period of time. Infants are at a greater risk of serious complications which include pneumonia, brain damage and seizures.

Immunization is the best defense against pertussis.  Residents can ask for the vaccine from their health care provider.  Residents without a health care provider can call the  Public Health at 705-743-1000 to book an appointment in the Routine Immunization Clinic.


For further information, please contact:

Jan Self
Public Health Nurse
Peterborough Public Health
705-743-1000, ext. 262