Following the success of the recent pertussis vaccination clinics in Barrington, the Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) plans to exercise its public health preparedness plans with several cities and towns by opening Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) vaccination clinics. Since it is still peak influenza season, vaccinations against seasonal flu will also be offered.
"HEALTH supports the primary care setting as a preferred venue for vaccinations," said Director of Health Michael Fine, MD. "However, this is a great opportunity for Rhode Island's municipalities to test their abilities to run a public vaccination clinic."
While there is no current pertussis outbreak anywhere in the state, pertussis remains a contagious disease that can cause illness and sometimes death, especially in infants. Anyone who is in close contact with an infant should get a Tdap shot. Additionally, a booster dose of Tdap is required for students before they enter seventh grade. Students who participate in the clinic will meet a vaccination requirement for seventh grade enrollment.
Flu vaccine will help people avoid the flu this year. The flu hits Rhode Island hardest in January and February every year.
There is no cost for the vaccinations and health insurance is not a requirement, but anyone who is insured should bring his or her insurance card. Pregnant women must be at least 20 weeks into their pregnancy to receive Tdap vaccine.
Tdap and influenza vaccinations continue to be available at primary care physician practices.
For more information about pertussis or to find a vaccination clinic near you, visit www.health.ri.gov/pertussisclinics.php or call the Health Information Line at 401-222-5960 / RI Relay 711.