It’s a good time to check your immunization status when it comes to Pertussis more commonly known as whooping cough.

Letters were distributed by School District 27 on behalf of Interior Health this week advising parents that there were some cases in the classroom and that their child may have been exposed.

“There is a vaccine that can protect against pertussis,” medical health officer, Karin Goodison said.

“It’s given routinely in childhood immunizations and repeated throughout the school-age years.”

As well as immunization, Goodison said regular hygiene to prevent communicable diseases including frequent hand washing as well as staying at home if you are ill is important.

The immunization rate in the Thompson Cariboo is about 77 percent for 2-year-olds and 74 percent for four-year-olds.

“They are lower than we would like to see,” Goodison said.

“We would like to see them up in the nineties but across Interior Health we have rates in the seventies.”

Since 2019 there have been 30 cases of whooping in the Interior Health Region.

“What we’ll see with whooping cough is that it will vary quite a bit from year to year in the amount we see, so for example in 2016 and 2017 we saw higher rates and 2018 we didn’t see as much and then we’re seeing a few cases this year,” Goodison said.

“We’re not sure if we’ll be seeing more or not as the year progresses.”

Whooping cough can be a serious infection, particularly in very young children and pregnant women.

“The population that we’re most trying to protect through immunization for pertussis and through controlling pertussis disease is our very vulnerable babies,” Goodison added.

“Newborn babies who can’t even be immunized are more likely to get this infection and to have really serious outcomes, so if you are ill certainly avoiding babies and pregnant women in their third trimester, and just to be aware that that’s the population that immunization isn’t necessarily just to protect yourself but it’s also to protect other people particularly those under the age of one.”