Whooping Cough: Pertussis Vaccine Protection Fades

Study finds weakness in whooping cough vaccine
doctor giving young child vaccine

New research into an outbreak of pertussis, or “whooping cough,” shows that the final dosage may not be as effective as thought. But it’s important that you continue to vaccinate your children as scheduled for the disease. 

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A study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the effects of the fifth and final dose of pertussis vaccine, administered between the ages of 4 and 6, are relatively short-lived.

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According to Camille Sabella, MD, of the Center for Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital, researchers found that “by age 8 to 11 years, there were a significant number of children who were not protected against pertussis” until they were administered a booster at 11 to 12 years of age.

Dr. Sabella says the research doesn’t mean parents should write off the protection it offers to children early on.

“Being immunized the first year of life is really important because that’s when we see severe disease,” says Dr. Sabella. “It’s really important that babies at 2, 4, and 6 months receive this vaccine. It’s the only form of protection that they will have.” 

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