Nurses and nurse practitioners need to make a concerted effort to reverse the rise in pertussis cases and deaths, especially among children and young people, according to an article published in the July-September edition of The Journal of Christian Nursing.
The battle of pertussis is winnable through education, awareness, and vaccination, Emily Peake, APRN, MSN, FNP-C, CLC, and Lisa K. McGuire, RN, MSN, MBA-HCM, write in the article titled, The Growing Global Pertussis Problem. This effort begins with nurses and nurse practitioners and other primary care providers who educate patients and the public.
In the U.S., average annual pertussis cases increased from less than 3,000 cases per year during the 1980s to 48,000 in 2012, including 20 deaths, according to the article. Pertussis is a major cause of death in infants worldwide. Causes of pertussis outbreaks in the U.S. may include ambivalence toward vaccinations, a lack of well-child visits and the arrival of non-vaccinated immigrants, the article states.
Barriers to vaccination also may include vaccine availability and cost, language issues, fear of vaccination, lack of information and religious objections.
Nurses should reassure parents that recommended vaccines are safe, that adverse events occur very rarely, and that those reactions are usually mild and local, Peake and McGuire write. Practitioners must build a trusting relationship with patients and reinforce the need for vaccinations through face-to-face contact, engaging parents to discuss concerns, and provide evidence-based research to guide recommendations and reassure patients of the safety of vaccines.
Nurses should form partnerships with community groups, including service organizations, food banks, churches, hospitals and schools to help identify people most likely not to be vaccinated and help them find free or low cost immunizations, the researchers contend. Nurses also can advocate for policies aimed at making universal vaccinations available for adolescents and adults, they write.
Read the article at: http://journals.lww.com/journalofchristiannursing/Fulltext/2014/09000/The_Growing_Global_Pertussis_Problem.9.aspx