Whooping cough rates soar; shots urged

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Adults over age 65 are being pushed with more emphasis to get the whooping cough (tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis/Tdap) vaccine, which researchers have found to be as safe and effective in the senior population as a traditional tetanus and diphtheria vaccine.

As more adults receive the Tdap shot, an “evaluation of the safety of the vaccine in this population becomes essential,” said Hung Fu Tseng, Ph.D., Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research & Evaluation.

There were 119,573 participants in the study who received the Tdap at one of seven Kaiser Permanente locations between January 2006 and December 2010. The same number received the TD vaccine. The risk for adverse post-vaccination reactions was comparable and minimal between both groups.

More adults are being vaccinated due to the spiking rate of infants contracting whooping cough, experts say. Infants younger than a year have the greatest risk and mortality from the disease, as they cannot be vaccinated until they are 2 months old. 

The findings were published in Clinical Infectious Diseases


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