SF Giants Pitcher Sergio Romo Joins SF Officials To Encourage Whooping Cough Vaccinations

San Francisco Giants pitcher Sergio Romo joined city and health care leaders today to highlight medical problems facing the local Hispanic community and to encourage them to stay fit with physical activity.

Romo, the Giants’ closer, came to the Castro-Mission Health Center for this morning’s outreach event, which targeted pertussis, also known as whooping cough, as well as diabetes and obesity.

Romo, who has two young sons, said he got a pertussis vaccination shot two years ago after learning of the danger the disease causes, particularly in the Hispanic community.

“Once I was told about pertussis and all the other illnesses that could affect my children, I jumped up and took action,” he said. “Taking care of myself is important so I can take care of my children.”

San Francisco Supervisor David Campos received a pertussis booster shot at the event.

“You don’t feel it at all and it only takes a second,” Campos said.

Dr. Jessica Nunez de Ybarra from the state’s Department of Public Health said that the foods that many Hispanic families eat can also lead to problems with obesity and diabetes.

“The foods we offer our families are delicious, but often in our rush are no longer nutritious,” she said, adding that “what was once reserved as a party treat is now an everyday meal choice or snack.”

Romo and others encouraged an active lifestyle as a way to stay healthy, with the pitcher even joining a Zumba instructor to show how to dance as a way to get a workout.

Nunez de Ybarra said a disproportionate amount of Hispanics are without health insurance and encouraged them to sign up for Covered California, a state health insurance program starting next year as part of the federal Affordable Care Act.

More information about the program can be found online at www.coveredca.com.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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