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Walgreens responds to pertussis outbreak in Kansas
June 25th, 2012
DEERFIELD, Ill. – Walgreen Co. is facilitating access to immunizations for whooping cough at its drug stores in Kansas and Missouri, where authorities are reporting epidemic levels of the highly contagious respiratory infection.
Walgreens said late Friday that it's making Tdap vaccines (tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis) available daily on a walk-in basis all of its 67 stores in Kansas and 195 stores in Missouri, including locations with Take Care Clinics.
"We share in the recommendations of health officials that one of the best things people can do to help keep themselves and their community healthy is to get vaccinated," Walgreens market pharmacy director Frank Koen said in a statement. "As some of the most trusted health care professionals in communities across our state, this is an excellent opportunity for our pharmacists to help educate residents about the importance of vaccinations and how we can all work together to help slow the spread of disease to some of the most vulnerable: our children. It is extremely important for those who care for or are in contact with children also be immunized to help prevent the spread of disease."
As of June 11, 56 confirmed cases have been reported to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), compared with 52 confirmed cases for all of last year, according to Walgreens. During 2011 and 2012, KDHE and local health departments have investigated eight outbreaks, including the ongoing outbreak in Johnson County, the drug chain said.
Walgreens pharmacists in Kansas can administer the Tdap vaccine to patients age 18 and older. The chain's pharmacies in Missouri can administer the pertussis vaccination to patients age 7 and older. Nurse practitioners at Take Care Health clinics can provide the vaccine to patients 10 and older.