AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Texas Medical Association has provided a grant through their “Be Wise — Immunize” program that will allow residents in medically underserved areas of Austin to receive free vaccinations for whooping cough and tetanus.
Dell Medical School students will administer the vaccine to adults at the Gus Garcia Recreation Center on 1201 East Rundberg Lane on Saturdays through April and into early May.
“A vaccination for adults can help prevent whooping cough, also known as pertussis, in the little ones around them who are most at risk for the disease,” said Leslie H. Secrest President of the TMA Foundation. “Our grant funding will help these Austin residents avoid illnesses that can have serious, even deadly, consequences for them or their loved ones.”
The Gus Garcia Recreation Center is located in an area that saw the highest rate of whooping cough between 2011 and 2015, according to Austin Public Health. Whooping cough, or pertussis, is known to be especially dangerous for infants under one-year-old. The Texas Department of State Health Services has stated that over 50 percent of babies under one-year-old who contract whooping cough must be hospitalized.
The most common symptom is a violent, uncontrollable cough and it is most harmful and sometimes deadly for babies. Early symptoms of the disease include a runny or stuffed-up nose, sneezing, mild cough and a pause in breathing for babies. That can develop into a severe cough after about one or two weeks and children may gasp for breath after a coughing fit and turn blue from lack of oxygen.
Since 2012 the TMA has awarded 105 similar grants, providing over 13,000 vaccinations across Texas totaling more than $203,000.