Today’s Public Health PSA

An article at the Body Politic blog (found via Mike the Mad Biologist) reminds me to remind all of you:  get your Tdap.  Tdap is the Tetanus, Diptheria and Pertussis booster.  We are currently in the middle of pertussis outbreaks in this country, and for once it appears that the chief culprit is not vaccine denialists but adults who either don’t know they need a booster or who have not made the time to get it done.  (The immunity conferred by tetanus, diphteria and pertussis vaccines given when young doesn’t last, so teens and adults need boosters. And according to the CDC, pregnant women should get the Tdap during every pregnancy to protect the newborn from possible pertussis. [PDF])

Maybe you should ask your doctor about it when you go in for your flu shot.*   I am not a doctor, so I have no idea if the two could be given at the same time, but it would still be worthwhile to ask.

CoIncidentally (since I just found the article listed above this morning), last night at a bar I was having a similar conversation with coworkers, asking them if they had had their Tdap.  The context was a conversation in which we discussed an upcoming project for which we had to have a TB test done, and how TB was still a significant problem in this country (especially resistant strains which have been showing up).  (The result: one coworker who didn’t know she needed one, one which had had one within the last ten years, and one who had gone to Central America with a program five years ago and had been required to have one before he went.  So three out of four (counting me): not bad, still not enough for herd immunity. Of course, we were a very tiny sample size).

Oddly enough, when I have gotten the booster (except for the time I went to Russia), it was because I had punctured my foot and was concerned about tetanus.  Pertussis had quite simply never occurred to me, which I suspect is the case for most adults.

*You are getting a flu shot, right?

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