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First Infant Pertussis Death in 2019

May 7, 2019

California experienced its first infant death of 2019 from pertussis. Providers may refer to an article titled “Whooping Cough Death Reported of a California Infant” on the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) website for more information.

CDPH issued a clinician health advisory titled “Immunize Pregnant Women to Prevent Infant Pertussis in California,” which provides guidance on immunizing all pregnant women against pertussis to protect their babies. The Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) urges all prenatal care providers to review and share the advisory with health care provider networks.

As a reminder, the fee-for service Medi-Cal program and Medi-Cal Managed Care Plans (MCPs) cover adult immunizations at provider offices and at in-network pharmacies. Providers who do not stock Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) immunizations onsite and need to provide a referral are advised to assist patients in identifying a local pharmacy covered by their insurance that is able to immunize pregnant women. The pharmacy where patients typically pick up their prescriptions may be able to provide this service.

For additional resources, providers may visit the Pertussis (Whooping Cough) page of the CDPH website or refer to the prenatal Tdap toolkit available on the Prenatal Tdap Workgroup Resources page of the EZIZ website.

DHCS thanks providers in advance for passing along this important message and helping protect infants from the dangers of pertussis.