NH DHHS - Joint Effort Helps Vaccinate Adults against Pertussis

Concord, NH – The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS),

Immunization Program (NHIP) recently collaborated with Ammonoosuc Community

Health Center and the North Country Health Consortium to vaccinate 314

adults against pertussis, also known as whooping cough. These adults were

not eligible to receive the vaccine under the NHIP Adult Vaccine Program,

(they had insurance but no access to receive the vaccine) and the providers

wanted these individuals to have the opportunity to receive the recommended

vaccine to help protect the infants in their lives because they were

parents, grandparents, or caregivers.

Pertussis is a highly contagious respiratory infection which most often

affects young children, but anyone can get it. Young infants are

particularly at risk because they may be too young to be vaccinated and

have less well developed immune systems. Pertussis can be difficult to

diagnose because the symptoms often look like a cold with a nagging cough,

asthma, or bronchitis. In New Hampshire, pertussis rates have been

increasing. In 2012 there were 252 cases reported to DHHS, compared with

171 in 2011 and 22 in 2010.

The clinic was run as part of an emergency preparedness exercise. This

allowed the participants to practice providing vaccines on a large scale

while also providing a service to the community. The residents were given

the Tdap form of the vaccine at five locations over three days.

“This is a wonderful example of public health at work,” said Dr. José

Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS. “Identifying a need,

collaborating to meet the need, and protecting the citizens of New

Hampshire are all parts of our mission and I commend NHIP and NCHC for this


For more information about NHIP visit

www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/immunization/index.htm. To learn more about the

vaccination against pertussis visit the Centers for Disease Control and

Prevention website at www.cdc.gov/pertussis

This vaccination effort is one of the topics DHHS is focusing on this week

in recognition of National Public Health Week; for more information go to