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Drugstores help fight the whooping cough epidemic in Snohomish County

Snohomish Health District teams up with 21 local pharmacies

SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. – Twenty-one local drugstores have joined the fight to knock down the whooping cough epidemic in Snohomish County. The Snohomish Health District supplies the pharmacies with free vaccine from the Sanofi Pasteur AmeriCares patient assistance program for uninsured, low-income adults.

Since the beginning of June, the stores so far have administered nearly 450 doses of whooping cough vaccine to low-income or uninsured adults. Pharmacies charge $10 to $15 to give the shot -- the vaccine itself is no cost to the client.

The newest names on the list of participating pharmacies are Rite Aid stores in Granite Falls, Marysville (116th St. N.E.), and Monroe, and Pharm-A-Save in Monroe. They join the Arlington Pharmacy; Kusler Pharmacy in Snohomish; Tulalip Clinical Pharmacy in Marysville; Bartell pharmacies in Bothell, Edmonds, Everett, Lake Stevens, Lynnwood, Snohomish, and Stanwood; and QFC pharmacies in Edmonds, Everett, Mill Creek, and Stanwood.

Find a complete list of the participating pharmacies at www.snohd.org/stopthecough.

"Thanks to these community pharmacies, we can make the whooping cough vaccine available throughout the county to people who otherwise couldn’t afford immunization," said Dr. Gary Goldbaum, Health Officer and Director of the Snohomish Health District, the local public health agency for the county.

As of June 15, the confirmed case count stands at 371 for 2012. Two years ago the annual total of confirmed cases was 25. In 2011 it climbed to 225.

"We’re still seeing new cases every week, but the rate has slowed down a little," said Dr. Goldbaum. Teens and adults need booster shots to maintain their immunity, and most adults are not current on their shots, he said.

In addition to the daily availability of the whooping cough vaccine through the drugstore network, a special free clinic for low-income, uninsured adults is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, June 26 at Valley General Hospital, 14701 – 179th Ave. S.E., Monroe, Wash. No appointments necessary – all walk-ins welcome.

The Snohomish Health District is the local public health agency for Snohomish County. Its programs and services are devoted to creating a healthier and safer community through disease prevention, health promotion, and protection from environmental threats. Learn more about the work of the Health District at www.snohd.org.

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