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Whooping Cough Vaccine Only Good for Three Years: Study Recommends Earlier Boosters

Flu Shot PreparationsA recent study of 15,000 children in Marin County, California suggests that the whooping cough (pertussis) vaccination is only effective for three years from the time of a child’s last injection.

The study was conducted after a recent string of outbreaks in the United States raised concerns over the efficacy of the product.

Lead researcher Dr. David Witt, chief of infectious disease at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in San Rafael, California, told Yahoo News, “I was disturbed to find maybe we had a little more confidence in the vaccine than it might deserve.”

Under current governmental recommendations, children receive the whooping cough vaccination in five stages with the first shot administered at age 2 months with a final shot between 4 and 6 years. Young patients are recommended a booster at 11 to 12-years-old, a booster gap of five to eight years.

California officials last year decided to push the booster age down to just 7-years-old in an attempt to stop increasingly common outbreaks in the state.

In the meantime, officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have acknowledged that the vaccine’s protection declines over time; however, they disagree with the three year results found in Dr. Witt’s study. Dr. Witt argues that the chance of contracting the disease increases by 10 to 20 times after three years while the CDC says that number is closer to fourfold.

In any case, the CDC says that some type of protection is better than nothing, especially when it comes to a potentially fatal disease like whooping cough.

References

Study: Whooping cough vaccination fades in 3 years:
http://news.yahoo.com/study-whooping-cough-vaccination-fades-3-years-150528753.html

Image Credits

Flu Shot Preparations: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:US_Navy_021019-N-9593M-007_Flu_shot_preparations.jpg

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