Seniors should get whooping cough vaccine

An across the street neighbor was complaining the other day that her daughter and son-in-law in southern California were not going to let them visit their new grandbaby until they both had their influenza and pertussis vaccines. My comment, “Good for them!”

Our neighbor seemed surprised. I said, “The kids are building a cocoon of protection for their baby. Since a baby cannot get the influenza vaccine until after six months of age, and since a child younger than six months of age is at risk for pertussis, or whooping cough, and several babies have died of it this year, they are making a wise decision for their family.”

The neighbor seemed perturbed by my response … but, my bet is she and her husband will be immunized. And, they should be.

Now, the Los Angeles Times reports in its LA Now blog, “Senior citizens should be vaccinated against whooping cough if they expect to be in contact with newborn infants, a federal health committee in Atlanta said Wednesday.”

Notably, the “vote by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices at” the CDC “largely endorsed what California health officials have been saying since the summer: People 65 and older should get the Tdap shot, which protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, also known as whooping cough.”

The AP says, “The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices gave the advice Wednesday because of an outbreak of whooping cough this year in California, where more than 6,200 cases have been reported.” Notably, “nine of the 10 infants who have died were too young to be fully vaccinated against the disease.

So, if you’ve not had your influenza immunization this year, or a Tdap immunization, now’s the time.

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