The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced Tuesday that it will offer free Tdap or whooping-cough vaccines at clinics across the state in August.
Tdap is a new school entry requirement for all incoming seventh graders starting this school year. Pediatrician and DHEC medical consultant Riyadh Muhammad says the agency is offering this is in an effort to assist parents in meeting new school requirements.
She says that pertussis, also known as whooping-cough, is just one of the diseases that this booster shot prevents
“This Tdap booster vaccine protects against 3 dangerous diseases: tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping-cough,” Muhammad said. “Of these three diseases whooping-cough has been the most difficult to control.”
Muhammad explained that whooping-cough starts with symptoms similar to the common cold. She said after about a week those symptoms get much worse.
“The cough becomes a lot more severe. The person will start to have fits of many mini rapid coughs that are followed by a high-pitched intake of breath that sounds like a ‘whoop,'” she told South Carolina Radio Network Tuesday.
DHEC also says the shot is recommended for children ages 11 and up, people who spend time around infants less than 12 month old, pregnant women, and anyone who has not had a tetanus, or Tdap booster in the last 10 years.
Vaccinations will be available for everyone, at a clinic location in every county. For a full list of where the vaccinations will be available go to www.scdhec.gov/health/disease/immunization/tdap_clinics.htm