10News.com, May 18, 2011
SAN DIEGO -- A new law may prevent older children from attending school if they are not vaccinated against whooping cough. County officials are expressing growing concern over the spread of whooping cough – also known as pertussis – which is at epidemic levels not seen since 60 years.
Last year, 10 newborns died in California from whooping cough. Two of the 10 died in San Diego. Both of those deaths were infants under the age of two months. However, questions were raised over the vaccine's effectiveness and why pediatricians say the vaccinations should begin at such a young age.
"The immunizations are only 80 percent effective but that's why we give it to children at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 18 months and 5 years," said Dr. Philip Szold, a pediatrician in La Mesa.
However, in 10 California counties, including San Diego, between 44 and 83 percent of those diagnosed with whooping cough had actually been immunized.