With a growing number of Illinois counties reporting their highest numbers of whooping cough cases in recent years, Walgreens has expanded its offering of immunizations that provide protection against pertussis (tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis-Tdap vaccine) to all of its more than 580 pharmacies throughout the state with no appointment necessary.
All Take Care Clinics, located at more than 45 select Walgreens in Illinois, also offer immunizations daily and can administer vaccine to individuals aged 11 through 64. Walgreens pharmacists in Illinois can administer immunizations to those aged 14 and older.
The announcement was made in response to an alert from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to residents statewide about a series of pertussis outbreaks.
“The best thing people can do to keep themselves and their families healthy during a possible outbreak is to get vaccinated,” said Denise Scarpelli, Illinois market pharmacy director for Walgreens, in a statement. “In addition to children, who are the most vulnerable, those who care for or are in contact with children should also be immunized. We hope that through greater access to immunizations, we can keep our communities healthy and help limit the spread of the virus.”
Walgreens is offering pertussis immunizations daily in response to the possible need for additional health care and immunizations resources.
McHenry County has reported an outbreak of more than 200 whooping cough cases, which it says is affecting more than 30 area schools. Last week, officials in Lake County issued an alert urging residents to be aware of signs and symptoms associated with whooping cough—including coughing, vomiting, and spasms, as a growing number of cases are now also being reported in Lake and Cook Counties and in a number of surrounding Chicago area collar counties.
Statewide, more than 1100 individuals have contracted pertussis this year, according to IDPH. Health officials in Illinois are working to educate consumers about the virus leading up to winter break for schools and the busy holiday travel season.
For the latest pertussis immunization recommendations for children and adults, as well as vaccine information, visit the Illinois Department of Public Health Web site.