Get Your Low-Cost Whooping Cough Vaccine!

What do you know about whooping cough? If you’re like me, you’ve heard of it, but don’t know anyone who’s had it and don’t know how you could be exposed to it.

Public Health – Seattle & King County has an answer for us: Whooping cough, also known as pertussis,

is a very contagious cough illness. It is spread through droplets from the mouth and nose when a person with pertussis coughs, sneezes, or talks. Young infants are at highest risk for severe illness, hospitalization and death from whooping cough.

It’s possible for pregnant women with whooping cough close to their date of delivery to spread it to their newborns. Public Health recommends that children, youth and adults stay up-to-date on their whooping cough vaccines. Before vaccines were made available and became routine, “there were on average over 200,000 cases of whooping cough and 4,000 deaths EACH YEAR in the US.”

Local QFC and Bartell Drugs pharmacies are now offering low-cost adult whooping cough booster shots (known as Tdap vaccine). Click here for a list of pharmacy locations that currently offer booster shots.

Local community clinics are also offering free or low-cost booster shots. “Health care providers and pharmacies may charge a fee up to $15.60 to give the vaccine.” If you cannot afford the fee or do not have health insurance, visit a local QFC or Bartell pharmacy or a community clinic to have the fee reduced or waived. The normal cost of a booster shot is $60 to $100.

For more information about whooping cough (pertussis) and where to get vaccine, visit

Swedish Medical Center Opens New Dental Clinic for Low-Income Patients

In Washington State, we are seeing program after program cut, year after year. When we keep having to fight for the Washington state legislature to fund existing programs like the Breast, Cervical & Colon Program, Basic Health, and Maternity Support Services, it is thrilling to see new health care services and initiatives.

In September 2011, Swedish Medical Center’s Community Specialty Clinic added new specialty dental care programming to serve adults who are uninsured or underinsured, and have low incomes. Services provided at the clinic are focused on complex specialty care (like complex tooth extractions) rather than preventative and primary dental care (like cleanings and fillings). Care will be provided by dentists and oral surgeons volunteering their time through the Seattle-King County Dental Society. As the program evolves, they plan to start providing other complex services like root canals.

Swedish Community Specialty Clinic is partnering with Project Access Northwest to “provide patient triage and case management… and to help with dentist scheduling and arranging patient visits.” Project Access Northwest, formerly King County Project Access, collaborates with providers in the health care community to open doors to medical and dental care for individuals with limited access.

Swedish and Project Access Northwest are doing their best to fill the health care gaps they see in our communities. One way of addressing those gaps most recently has been providing dental care for patients awaiting kidney transplants. In order for a patient to receive a transplant, she must be cleared by a dentist. If a patient has dental infections, she must have a full extraction done before the transplant. Patients had been having a difficult time getting dental care; there were either no dentists providing the clearance or it was too expensive for the patients. Since the fall and in partnership with the Northwest Kidney Foundation, the Swedish Community Specialty Clinic has provided 10 kidney transplant patients with the necessary dental care, and they are ready for more!

In order to access care at the Swedish Community Specialty Clinic, patients must receive a referral through a community health clinic. All referrals from primary care providers at community health clinics must go through Project Access Northwest.

To contact the Community Specialty Clinic, please visit their website or call 206.860.6656. They are also located in the Heath Building at 801 Broadway, Suite 901, in Seattle’s First Hill neighborhood.

Information on Swedish Community Specialty Clinic found at Seattle Local Health Guide.

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