New recommendations for the Whooping Cough Vaccine

Published: Oct. 28, 2019 at 6:05 PM PDT
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These are the sounds of whopping cough.

A child gasping for air, unable to get his breath.

In very young children hospitalization may be required.

One in 100 children will die from this disease.

A vaccine called the TDAP which protects against this highly contagious disease, is given on a schedule with the last vaccine administered in pre-teens between the ages of 11 and 12.

But now researchers are finding that last vaccine, may not give a lifetime of immunity to whopping cough.

“There is some data that shows that protection can wane by half 50% after 6 to 8 years,” says Dr. Steven Zell, a professor with UNR Med in Primary Care. “So we may even see in the future, a re-visitation of this policy that when they get their TDAP at 11 maybe before they graduate they get a booster. Specifically if they are going to enter college and intermingle with a lot of other people of a youthful age,” says Dr. Zell.

Dr. Zell says in the past, most older patients would concern themselves with a tetanus shot which they would get every ten years.

Traditionally that shot would also include protection against Diphtheria.

Called the TD vaccine it provides no protection against whopping cough.

These new recommendation from ACIP not only recommend patients 18-years and older get the TDAP booster, but TDAP should be administered at the time a tetanus shot is needed as well.

For those worried about hyper-sensitivity and other possible side effects, Dr. Zell says medicine already has the information it needs about the safety of this recommendation.

That's because pregnant women are given this vaccine in their last trimester.

They'll be given another TDAP vaccine for subsequent pregnancies no matter how far the babies are spaced apart.

“They have no recorded history of adverse side effects. So the lesson to doctors and for patients asking for this. If you really don't know the last interval, it is safe to give it very closely to whenever you received TD for a rusty nail, tetanus protection, in the past,” says Dr. Zell.

Dr. Zell says patients 30 year or older were not given the final TDAP vaccine in the middle school as that wasn’t protocol at the time.

These patients definitely need to check with their health care provider to see if the TDAP booster is best for them.

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