Due to a rise in whooping cough cases in the province, Alberta Health Services (AHS) is reminding parents to make sure their children are up-to-date with their routine immunizations.

"Routine immunizations are more important than ever. Pertussis [whooping cough] is a vaccine-preventable bacterial infection. It can impact people of all ages; however, infants one year and younger are at greatest risk of serious complications," AHS stated. 

AHS underlined that the province offers all children routine immunizations free of charge, as well as routine immunizations in schools for children in Grades 6 and 9, in addition to offering immunization to Grade 1 students who are delayed for their routine immunizations.

"A consent form is sent home with an information sheet for each vaccine recommended for the student. No immunizations will be given in school without consent from a parent or legal guardian," AHS added. "By following the routine immunization schedule, your child will be protected against vaccine-preventable diseases at the most effective ages and stages."

According to the routine immunization schedule provided by AHS, children should be vaccinated to protect against whooping cough at two months, four months, six months, 18 months, and four years old, as well as once they are in Grade nine. 

Adults are advised to get booster doses every ten years for whooping cough, while pregnant women are also advised to get vaccinated against whooping cough.

Whooping cough, previously called the '100-day cough' can cause coughing for months and is highly contagious. 

"In Canada, one to four deaths are related to pertussis each year. These deaths are most often in babies who are too young to be immunized or children who are not fully immunized."

Last year, a whooping cough outbreak in AHS's South zone impacted well over 140 people. 

"The majority of cases are among children between one and nine years old, but some adults have also been affected. Newborns and young children are most vulnerable to severe illness and complications. Five children have required hospitalization during this outbreak," AHS previously said.

There are no current outbreaks in the Calgary zone. 

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