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Doctors Urge Pertussis Immunization

11-3 pertussisMEDFORD, Ore. – Risk of pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is on the rise this year in Southern Oregon. Local doctors say it’s because not enough people are getting vaccinated.

For several years local clinics have been using a new vaccine called DTAP, replacing the well-known TDAP shot. They say it has a lower risk of side effects.

The disease itself can have devastating effects in children, including mental retardation and even death.

“We’ve been so healthy and so lucky not to have these things in our lives any more – mumps, measles, rubella, chicken pox, pertussis – we’ve gotten so used to not having those things that people have gotten kind of blasé about it,” said Dr. Alan Bates with Creekside Family Medicine.

Bates says risk can skyrocket when you start seeing fewer than 60% of the population getting immunized. Parts of Oregon are at about 70%.

But he says he is seeing more adults showing up to get the shot, especially those who interact with newborns.