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

e doses of the whole-cell vaccine, the rates of pertussis were significantly lower, according to the study.

"Clearly, there are differences between the whole-cell vaccine and the acellular vaccine. The immune response doesn't seem to be as much, but it's a balancing act between enduring protection and side effects," Klein said. "The older vaccine seemed to have more enduring protection, but at a cost."

She said the current recommendations are for 11- to 12-year olds to get a booster vaccine. What isn't yet clear, she said, is if additional booster shots will be needed as children who only received the acellular vaccine get older. Klein said that reformulating the current vaccine, or developing a new one may need to be considered.

Clark said the CDC recommends a booster for adolescents, as well as for adults. Clark said the coverage rates in adults are very low, less than 10 percent. He said it's particularly important for young adults considering starting a family, because the disease is most serious in infants.

More information

Learn more about the whooping cough vaccine from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SOURCES: Nicola Klein, M.D., Ph.D., co-director, Kaiser Permanente Vaccine Study Center, Oakland, Calif.; Tom Clark, M.D., medical epidemiologist, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta; Sept. 13, 2012, New England Journal of Medicine


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