A state funded vaccine helps protect children by providing Tdap to parents, family members, health care workers or anyone who is around children.

Parents, babysitters and others that are around newborns have an opportunity to get a vaccination that will help prevent the baby getting some serious diseases. And the medication is free.

The Pratt County Health Department has received a shipment of Tdap vaccination that can be given to those that qualify for free vaccinations. While the vaccination is free, an administration fee will be required. Some insurance will also pay for the office fee.

Pratt County Director Public Health Darcie VanDerVyver said Kansas takes part in a nation wide program that provides free Tdap doses. Health departments have to apply for the medicine that comes through the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

VanDerVyver said this was the first time she has taken advantage of the program. She heard about the program at a regional meeting. She applied for 100 doses and will continue to give them out as long as they last. She can apply for more doses under this program but doesn't know is she will be able to get more.

The Health Department always has Tdap vaccinations on hand but those doses are not free. The Health Department takes part in the Vaccinations for Children, a state funded vaccine program for children. Through this program, they can help children from birth to 18 years if their family can't afford the vaccination. The Health Department is the only VFC provider in Pratt County.

The Tdap vaccination protects against tetanus (lockjaw), diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough). Each of these diseases are very serious and can make infants very sick and can be fatal. The vaccination cannot be given to babies less than two months old and once they start the vaccinations, it takes a year to build up an immunity, VanDerVyver said.

To help prevent babies from getting these diseases, parents, family members, daycare providers, medical professionals, baby sitters and anyone else who who comes in contact with babies from newborn to one year should get the Tdap vaccination. A Tdap booster should be given every 10 years, VanDerVyver said.

Besides the Tdap, adults should consider getting vaccinated for other diseases.

Influenza has been especially aggressive this year and many have died including young children. It's not to late to get a flu shot and they are available at the health department.

Pneumonia is a disease that can cause serious infection in the lungs (pneumonia), blood (bacteremia) and the covering of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis.)

Anyone can get pneumonia but it is most common among adults. Those most susceptible are people under 2 and over 65, people with certain medical conditions and cigarette smokers. Some strains have become resistant to treatment drugs so prevention though vaccination is important.

@GaleR_Tribune