Health pros collaborate to offer vaccinations
What would happen if everyone in Mesa County needed a vaccination against a fast-spreading disease?
That’s one issue some Mesa County officials are working on by recruiting medical professionals to work in clinics. The first exercise invites workers at an upcoming clinic to vaccinate residents against whooping cough.
“This is our first recruitment effort to let some of the medical workforce know there is another outlet for them,” said Sue Riser, division director of preparedness and response with the Mesa County Health Department.
The state has asked the Health Department to formulate a plan that would ensure all residents receive specific immunizations within 48 hours in the event of an emergency. That scenario would take an estimated 15 clinic sites to be operational around the clock. It also would require 2,400 staff members, Riser said.
Medical professionals who volunteer to work at clinics will receive training first, Riser said.
Nurses and medical professionals typically are tasked with earning qualifications in addition to their workloads, so this opportunity could help medical staff earn those credentials, she said.
The first round of clinics will focus on immunizing residents against whooping cough, or pertussis. Incidents of whooping cough are on the rise nationally, with 1,300 cases reported to date. Nine cases have been reported so far this year in Mesa County.
Whooping cough is a contagious bacterial disease that causes uncontrollable coughing.
In children, the coughing noise ends in a noise that sounds like a “whoop.” Children with whooping cough can experience choking episodes, bleeding in the brain and vomiting, among other symptoms.
Medical professionals are encouraging residents to vaccinate against the disease after seeing an increase in breakouts.