Whooping Cough

I have something to tell you that very few people want you to know.

Seventy-eight percent of the people who caught pertussis (whooping cough) in Lane County this year were fully vaccinated against pertussis and were up to date with all their shots. 

For a child whose parents follow the CDC schedule today, that means they’ve received six pertussis shots. (Injections are given at two months of age, four months, six months, another at 15-18 months, another at 4-6 years and another at 11-12 years. A seventh is given after age 19.)

Outbreaks were happening in schools that had 99-percent vaccination rates for pertussis.

What’s in those seven pertussis shots? It depends on the brand you buy; here’s the ingredients in one of them: aluminum phosphate, polysorbate 80, sucrose, formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, bovine serum albumin, 2-phenoxyethanol, neomycin, polymyxin B sulfate, modified Mueller’s growth medium, ammonium sulfate, modified Mueller-Miller casamino acid medium without beef heart infusion, Stainer-Scholte medium, casamino acids, dimethyl-beta-cyclodextrin, MRC-5 cells (a line of normal human diploid cells), CMRL 1969 medium supplemented with calf serum, Medium 199 without calf serum, modified Mueller and Miller medium.

One of these ingredients is found in all of the various pertussis shots and is on Oregon’s list of High Priority Chemicals of Concerns for Children’s Health. Its potential for chronic health effects are leukemia, nose-throat-lung-and-eye cancers, and it can cause asthma-like respiratory problems.  

All of this information is from Lane County Health and Human Services, Oregon Health Authority and the CDC. 

Stacey Black, Eugene

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