Your Family

Aug 3, 2010 1:34 AM by Ariel Wesler

French Hospital expands free whooping cough vaccinations

San Luis Obispo County is dealing with a Whooping Cough epidemic and one local hospital is responding by expanding vaccinations.

French Hospital Medical Center is now offering Whooping cough vaccinations to cover any family member or caregiver coming into close contact with newborns. The latest numbers show 269 confirmed cases of Whooping cough in San Luis Obispo County.

Little Jillian is just hours old and her parents are already making sure she stays healthy.

"My husband and I Andrew have already gotten vaccinated and all of our extended family will get vaccinated as well," said Juliette Sherman, a new mom.

That includes grandma and grandpa. French Hospital is strengthening the fight against Whooping Cough by offering free vaccinations to new parents and caregivers.

"We're really hoping that with the clinics that the hospital is offering along with the clinics that the county is offering that we can really blanket the population," said Megan Maloney with French Hospital.

The main symptom is coughing spasms, which adults can generally handle, but are often deadly for infants and small children.

"They're just so little and their lungs aren't developed fully in terms of what they can be when they're one years old, so taking the steps now for prevention I feel is very important," Sherman said.

Of the 269 confirmed cases in San Luis Obispo County, eleven have been infants under one year old, and two of those infants have been hospitalized.

"We've all done this for the flu in the past, but you know, we haven't seen these high numbers," Maloney said.

High numbers doctors and nurses hope to reduce with a little shot--something they say will do a lot of good and give proud parents a little peace of mind.

"Get it done. A.S.A.P. .A.S.A.P. It's not bad. It doesn't hurt and it's just like the flu shot and it's very important. We have to protect our little ones," Sherman said.

Sierra Vista and Twin Cities both offer the shots. In the last few weeks, Sierra Vista has expanded its vaccinations to include those who come in close contact with newborns.

Twin Cities says it received more vaccine from the state Friday and will soon do the same.

San Luis Obispo County's Department of Public Health is also offering free vaccinations this month.

SLO: Tuesday, August 10th 1 p.m.-5 p.m.--San Luis Ambulance Conference Room 3546 S. Higuera Street, San Luis Obispo

South County: Wednesday, August 11th 9 a.m.-1 p.m.--South County Sheriff's Substation Conference Room. 1681 Front Street, Oceano.

North County: Friday, August 13th 9 a.m.- 1 p.m. --Paso Robles Senior Center

For more information and additional locations, click here.

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