GREAT BEND, Kansas – State health officials went to Barton County today armed with hundreds of vaccines for whooping cough.
They’re hoping to prevent the current outbreak there in Barton County from spreading any further.
There’s been one death and, five confirmed cases.
Other cases were confirmed late last year in Wichita, Mcpherson, and Johnson counties.
The state says as a “vaccine-preventable” disease this is a serious concern and, today hundreds came out to work to protect themselves and others from the disease.
“We just heard that the whooping cough was going around,” said Jack Love as he waited outside the Barton County Health Department to get a vaccination.
Hundreds showed up to get a free whooping cough vaccine in Barton County many of whom had to wait in a line that stretched outside the health department.
“I work in a doctor’s office and i’m around kids all the time and I have three kids at home so I just want to be safe,” said Jamie Welch.
With an outbreak in the community the county health department reached out to state officials saying they needed to do more to protect the community.
RELATED LINK | CDC Information on whooping cough
The state responded with cases of the vaccine.
“It’s a little overwhelming but I’m thrilled that people are taking initiative to come get vaccinated and just come and do what’s right,” said Shelly Schneider the Director of the Barton County Health Department.
The good news is people seem to understand the urgency.
“This is to protect everybody from getting it, and I have a husband in the hospital in the ICU and they’re telling everybody to go get it done,” said Christina Bennett.
The Barton County Health Department gave out two-hundred and fifty vaccines by noon, expecting to have given out four hundred by the time they closed.
The health department will be getting more shipments of vaccines on Friday to keep up with the growing demand.
“We’re going through them rapidly, very quick and it sends a bit of panic in us because we get low but then we get another shipment in and we just keep clicking along,” said Schneider.
The department will keep giving out shots for free as long as they have the supply hoping to keep a community safe.
“I think it’s a good deal because a lot of people will take advantage of it,” said Rodger Guthals.
“I’m very happy that people are protecting themselves and their kids,” said Christina Bennett.
The health department will be giving out vaccines until eight tonight and will continue giving out free vaccines Friday at the Barton County Health Department (see map below).
The number of cases of pertussis, or whooping cough, statewide since 2002 are listed below by year. It is important to note that the case counts from 2002 – 2011 include only confirmed cases.
*Since 2012, case counts have included both confirmed and probable cases.