Tetanus vaccine available for recovery workers

Published 9:23 am Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Southwest Health District officials are encouraging Hurricane Michael recovery workers to get vaccinated against tetanus if they haven’t had a recent booster shot. Adults need a booster shot every 10 years to stay protected.

 “The vaccine is available at all of our open county health departments,” said Southwest Health District Health Director Dr. Charles Ruis. “To date, 12 of our 14 health departments are open. Further, our staff has the ability to go out into the field to give shots.”

The Decatur County Health Department, located at 928 S. West Street, is currently open and available to administer the shots to recovery workers.

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Tetanus shots given to recovery workers in the field are free, he said. Vaccine given in the health departments is billed to insurance; however, no- and low-cost tetanus vaccine is also available in health departments for eligible patients.

Tetanus is an infection caused by bacteria that usually enters the body through breaks in the skin. Also called “lockjaw” because tetanus often causes a person’s neck and jaw muscles to lock, making it hard to open the mouth or swallow, the disease can be fatal if untreated. Tetanus is not spread person to person.

 “Any wound that could be contaminated with tetanus bacteria should be tended to as soon as possible,” Ruis said.

For more information about tetanus vaccinations, contact your local health department.