WOONSOCKET, R.I., Jan. 26, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- With at least a dozen states reporting confirmed cases of pertussis (whooping cough) during the first three weeks of January, MinuteClinic, the largest provider of retail medical clinics in the United States, is urging parents and guardians to obtain a DTaP shot (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis) for unvaccinated children under seven. Booster shots, known as Tdap, are also encouraged for all pre-teens, teens and adults.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), a vaccination is the best way to prevent pertussis. Both DTaP and Tdap vaccinations are available seven days a week without appointment for those 18 months and above at 600 plus MinuteClinic medical clinics inside select CVS/pharmacy stores in 24 states and the District of Columbia.
News reports of confirmed pertussis cases among children in 2012 have occurred in a number of states where MinuteClinic medical clinics offer pertussis vaccinations, including New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
"We have seen a reemergence of whooping cough in recent years and in many cases infants and children are infected by parents, siblings, other family members and caregivers who don't realize they have the disease," says Nancy Gagliano, M.D., MinuteClinic Chief Medical Officer. "Our practitioners at MinuteClinic can help educate parents and other adults about appropriate immunization schedules for their children and themselves to prevent spreading the illness."
The recommended pertussis vaccination for infants and children is DTaP, a combination vaccine that also protects against diphtheria and tetanus and is given four times in infant/early childhood years and a fifth time before a child enters school between ages 4-6.
Vaccine protection fades over time, so a Tdap booster shot, which also protects against all three diseases, is recommended for pre-teens at age 11 or 12 and for adults who did not get a Tdap vaccine as a pre-teen or teen. Children ages 7 to 10 with an incomplete vaccination history against pertussis should also get a Tdap shot. Tdap vaccinations are particularly recommended for pregnant women, family members with newborn infants, grandparents, health care workers and child care providers.
Pertussis is known as whooping cough due to the "whooping" sound that is made when gasping for air. The disease can result in hospitalization, particularly among infants. There are about 300,000 pertussis-related deaths worldwide per year according to the CDC.
DTaP vaccinations at MinuteClinic are $82 while Tdap vaccinations are $79. The vaccines are typically covered by insurance but patients should check with their insurance company prior to visiting MinuteClinic to verify coverage.
MinuteClinic practitioners specialize in family health care and can diagnose, treat and write prescriptions for common family illnesses such as strep throat and ear, eye, sinus, bladder and bronchial infections. Minor wounds, abrasions, skin conditions and joint sprains are treated, and other common vaccinations such as influenza, tetanus, pneumonia, and Hepatitis A & B are available at most locations. Walk-in camp, sports and college physicals for adolescents are available daily. In addition, MinuteClinic administers a series of wellness services designed to help consumers identify lifestyle changes needed to improve their current and future health, including screenings and monitoring for diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
No appointments are required at MinuteClinic and most health insurance is accepted. For patients paying cash or credit, treatment prices are posted at each medical center and on www.minuteclinic.com. The cost for most treatment starts at $79.
MinuteClinic is a division of CVS Caremark Corporation (NYSE: CVS), the largest pharmacy health care provider in the United States. MinuteClinic launched the first retail walk-in clinics in the United States in 2000 and is the largest provider of walk-in clinics with more than 600 locations in 25 states and the District of Columbia. By creating a health care delivery model that responds to consumer demand, MinuteClinic makes access to high quality medical treatment easier for more Americans. Nationally, the company has generated more than 11 million patient visits, with a 95% customer satisfaction rating. MinuteClinic is the first retail health care provider to receive accreditation (2006) and reaccreditation (2009) from The Joint Commission, the national evaluation and certifying agency for nearly 15,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. For more information, visit www.MinuteClinic.com.