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Whooping Cough Vaccine Protection Fades Over Time: Study
Date:9/13/2012

CDC.

The vaccine for pertussis is given in a five-dose schedule during childhood. It's given in combination with vaccines for diphtheria and tetanus. Doctors may refer to the vaccine as DTaP. The first three shots are given in infancy at 2, 4 and 6 months. The fourth shot is given between 15 and 18 months, and the fifth shot is generally given between the ages of 4 and 6 years, according to the CDC. The vaccine is also now recommended for pregnant women, with the hope that their immunization will help protect the baby as well.

In the early 1990s, the pertussis portion of the vaccine was changed from the live whole-cell vaccine to its current inactive acellular form. This change was made to reduce the number of side effects that occurred after vaccination, according to background information in the study.

In the current study, Klein and her colleagues reviewed data on 277 fully vaccinated children between the ages of 4 and 12 who had been diagnosed with pertussis through lab tests, and compared them to 3,318 fully vaccinated children in the same age range who tested negative for pertussis. The researchers also compared the group of children with known pertussis to a control group of 6,086 age-matched children who hadn't been tested for pertussis.

They found that children who were diagnosed with pertussis were more likely to have received their last dose of pertussis vaccine earlier compared to the two control groups.

As children got older, the risk of pertussis increased. Among 6-year-olds, the rate of whooping cough was 4.5 percent. For 8-year-olds, that number was 12.2 percent, and 18.5 percent of 10-year-olds tested positive for pertussis.

None of the children in the study who had been vaccinated had severe pertussis and there were no hospitalizations or deaths from the disease, indicating that the vaccine did offer some protection, even in those who got ill.

In children who were old enough to have received at least som
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