No Long-term Protection for Whooping Cough Booster Vaccine

Unfortunately, there is no long-term protection for whooping cough booster vaccine.

The newest study in the field has revealed there is no long-term protection for whooping cough booster vaccine. Apart from the effectiveness of vaccines, parents have another issue to think about now: whether their children will be safe from various diseases for the years to come.

Children receive booster shots of Tdap in order to be protected from diphtheria, cough and tetanus. It seems the resurgence of whooping cough occurs because this particular vaccine wears off in quite a short time.

The new study that has been conducted on the matter has proven that the shots received by children younger than fifteen work for a shorter time than it was expected. The research analyzed the effects on teenagers insured by Kaiser Permanente, a large health insurer in California. It seems the root of the problem lies in the booster shots.

The results of the study showed that the pertussis shot that is usually given at the age of eleven or twelve provides moderate protection (69%) for one whole year. However, the immunity of the child reaches a rate of 57% the second year, and then falls dramatically at 25% in the third and 9% in the fourth year.

Kaiser Permanente also released information on the children who get vaccines. According to the report, 96% of the children who are part of the health care network in Northern California received the Tdap shot before turning fourteen. On the other hand, over 1200 children and adolescents developed whooping cough from 2006 to 2015. The epidemics peaked in 2010 and 2014. And thus the researchers reached the conclusion that this vaccine does not last for a long time.

The results will be published in the Pediatrics issue in March, which also tackles the question of the ineffectiveness of the protection of the vaccine. Back in the 1990s, the traditional vaccine for whooping cough was changed with the DTaP, because the latter also covered tetanus and diphtheria. The DTaP is known to work very well on a short term, but also requires several boost shots: one at the age of five and one at eleven or twelve years of age.

The fact that there is no long-term protection for whooping cough booster vaccine has led to 48,000 cases of whooping cough in 2012 alone across the United States. This is reportedly the highest value recorded since 1955. While public health officials are not expected to return to the old vaccines, they will need to find a solution for our current problem.

Image Source: The Thinking Moms’ Revolution