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Whooping Cough Vaccine

Whooping cough is on the rise in the U.S., so an additional booster shot of the vaccine now is recommended for older children, adolescents and adults.

Due to the increase in incidences of whooping cough in recent years, an additional booster vaccine for the disease now is being recommended.  Dr. Subhash (Sue-bahsh’) Chaudhary, professor of pediatrics at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield, explains why the additional dose of the vaccine is necessary.

SOUND BITE:  TR 1 (1:05 - 1:32)  “Because of the vaccine there is good immunity for about three years.  After that immunity starts to wane and now we are seeing whooping cough in adolescents and adults which was not the case earlier.  Many times, this disease doesn’t get recognized in older children, adolescents and adults. . .”

Dr. Chaudhary says often when adolescents and young adults get whooping cough, they have a milder form of the disease.  The disease may not be diagnosed and they can pass it on to infants and young children, who are affected more severely.  Some infants can even die from whooping cough.  He explains the new recommendation.

SOUND BITE:  TR 1  ( 6:52 - 7:27) “Now the latest strategy is to give a dose of whooping cough vaccine along with Tetanus and Diphtheria vaccine starting at age 11 to 13 years of age.  In addition, we recommend that anybody who is older than that age and … up to the age of 64, we can give this vaccine instead of giving just the Tetanus and Diphtheria vaccine. . . ”

Dr. Chaudhary says individuals in the 11 to 64 age group should talk to their primary care physician or pediatrician about getting the whooping cough booster vaccine.  If you or a family member has symptoms like a common cold, which get worse after two weeks with serious coughing and a unique high-pitch “whooping” sound, you should see your physician.

This is Ruth Slottag at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield.