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Q&A on whooping cough: Where can I get vaccinated?

September 24, 2010 |  8:00 am

A number of readers have contacted The Times with questions about the whooping cough outbreak that has killed nine people in California this year, all infants younger than 3 months of age. The epidemic, which has affected more than 4,200 people, is now the worst in the state for pertussis in 55 years.

As The Times continues to spread of the severe bacterial disease, readers are encouraged to send their questions to ron.lin@latimes.com.

Question: I do not have insurance. Where can I go to get a whooping cough vaccination?

Answer: Free or low-cost vaccinations can be found in Los Angeles County by dialing 211 or (800) 427-8700 or clicking on the Department of Public Health’s immunization clinic referral website. [See a list of clinics that offer free or discounted clinics.]

On Saturday, UC Irvine Medical Center, located at 101 The City Drive South in Orange, is scheduled to begin distributing free vaccinations for people between ages 10 and 64. Vaccinations will be available  Saturday, Sept. 25, between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Wednesday, Sept. 29, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Those interested should go in through the south entrance of the Neuropsychiatric Center in Orange.

Here are other sources for free or discounted pertussis vaccinations in other areas:

Long Beach: The Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services accepts appointments at (562) 570-4315. General information about whooping cough can be found at (562) 570-4212.

Pasadena: The Pasadena Public Health Department runs immunization clinics for adults. The city charges $50 for a Tdap shot for adults. More information can be found by calling (626) 744-6121.

Orange County: The Orange County Health Care Agency offers vaccine free of charge to those whose physicians don’t have the vaccine, whose insurance plan doesn’t cover the shot, or to the uninsured. Call (800) 564-8448 for more information. The shots are available at the immunization clinic at 1725 West 17th Street in Santa Ana, which is open Monday through Friday.

Riverside County: Public health clinics in Riverside County offer the inoculation, and more information can be found by calling (800) 720-9553.

San Bernardino County: A $10 fee is charged for the pertussis vaccine at San Bernardino County-run clinics. Appointments can be made by calling (800) 722-4777.

San Diego County: A $10 fee is also charged per clinic visit in San Diego County public health centers, and people who can’t afford the fee can sign a waiver.

Santa Barbara County: Public health officials are holding regular whooping cough vaccination clinics in Santa Barbara County.

Ventura County: Call (805) 981-5221 in Ventura County to schedule appointments for low-cost vaccines at county clinics.

California health officials now recommend the Tdap inoculation for everyone 7 years and older, including the elderly, who are not fully immunized, and especially pregnant women and anyone who will have contact with them and their babies.

-- Rong-Gong Lin II

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