January 12, 2015
A Del Mar mother of two thought she did everything she could to keep her kids healthy.
After vaccinating her two young sons, Preston and Parker, Jackie Combs and her sons came down with whooping cough. It’s especially scary for Parker, who’s 6 months old — an age when whooping cough can be deadly.
“It’s just frustrating as a mother to think you’re taking all the right precautions and doing the right thing and keeping your kids safe,” she said.
The mother isn’t alone in her frustration. The number of Pertussis cases has started climbing again in recent years to epidemic levels.
Nationally, the number of whooping cough cases dropped in the 1940s to fewer than 10,000, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Last year, however, that number spiked to more than 28,000.
So what’s the problem?
Dr. Wilma Wooten said the current vaccine used in the United States is only 80 percent effective. She believes the vaccine itself is more to blame than the perception that fewer people are getting vaccinated.
“The Pertussis outbreak has no relationship to personal belief exemption,” she said. “This really is about the effectiveness of the vaccine itself.”
Wooten still recommends that people get vaccinated because even if they get whooping cough, it will be less severe for those immunized.
Fortunately, Combs and her family are feeling much better after their scare.