Newer purified pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine may not be as effective

ABC World News reported, “We have a new clue about the dramatic rise in whooping cough this year, the biggest in half a century.” A “new study today suggests the vaccine given to children in the past 15 years is not as effective as the old vaccine used to be. This could mean that children in their early teens will need booster shots.”

MedPage Today reports, “The protection provided by acellular pertussis vaccines (DTaP) as a first dose may fall short of that provided by first-dose whole-cell pertussis vaccines (DTwP), which were phased out in the 1990s because of higher rates of adverse events,” according to a research letter published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Among some 58,000 Australian “children born in 1998, rates of pertussis were higher among those who received an acellular vaccine instead of a whole-cell vaccine for the first three doses in the primary series,” the study found. “The difference was evident during a pre-epidemic period from 1999 to 2008 and during a period of elevated pertussis rates from 2009 to 2011,” researchers reported.

HealthDay points out, “More than twice as many cases have been reported in the United States so far this year compared to last year, and already nine babies have died, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “We may be on track for a record-high pertussis rate this year,” Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said recently.”

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