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County urging flu, whooping cough vaccinations before holidays

PHOENIX -- The holidays are coming and Maricopa County is urging residents to get vaccinated against both the flu and whooping cough.

Maricopa County Health Director Dr. Bob England said family gatherings, just a few short weeks away, are a breeding ground for viruses like the flu.

"It takes a few weeks for the body to build up the antibodies, so don't put it off any longer."

England said grandparents are among the most vulnerable to contract the flu.

"If you really want to protect your grandparents, get vaccinated so you don't bring it to them," he said. "The flu vaccine doesn't work as well in older adults so get your flu vaccine. "

England is also concerned with pregnant women who, like older adults, are at high risk for flu complications.

"If you're pregnant or trying to get pregnant, get your flu vaccine now," he said.

England said everyone over the age of six months should have a flu vaccination.

The flu is not England's only concern. Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is at levels not seen in the United States in more than 50 years, according to Centers for Disease Control and England advised people to be vaccinated against it.

England said pertussis is nothing for adults. Most adults get a hacky little cough, but for infants, it's a totally different story.

"Most adults have no clue that they're coughing out germs that could kill an infant," he said. "We had one infant die here this year. It's 100 percent preventable."

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About the Author

Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite food: Steak and shrimp, and any food on campouts.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Favorite news memory: The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. The 2007 Southern California Firestorm and being at Sky Harbor Airport when the first plane lifted off several days after 9-11. Seeing the American flag on the tail of the Salt Lake City-bound Delta airliner as it took off still gives me goosebumps.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges -- which was outstanding --, Lonesome Dove.

First job: Spinning records at KLER Radio Orofino, Idaho 1980.

First concert: KISS/Cheap Trick 1977 Spokane, WA Coliseum.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, The University of Montana Grizzlies and Texas Rangers.

Outside interests: Sports, camping, fishing, traveling.


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