Tags: whooping | cough | vaccine

Pertussis Shot Safe for Seniors: Study

Monday, 03 Dec 2012 11:16 AM


The whooping cough vaccine isn’t just for kids. New research shows immunizing older adults with the tetanus-diphtheria-acellular-pertussis vaccine (Tdap) to prevent whooping cough is both safe and effective.
The Kaiser Permanente study, published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, examined nearly 120,000 adults aged 65 and older at seven U.S. health organizations over a 5-year period. It found using the Tdap shot to be as safe as immunizing seniors with the tetanus and diphtheria vaccine.
"Published data on the safety of the Tdap vaccine in persons 65 years and older is limited as the vaccine was initially not licensed for this age group," said lead researcher Hung Fu Tseng, from Kaiser Permanente Southern California's Department of Research & Evaluation. "However, as the number of elderly individuals receiving Tdap increases, evaluation of the safety of the vaccine in this population becomes essential."
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In analyzing patient records, Tseng’s team found only a small increase in the number of minor medical conditions following Tdap vaccination — primarily an increased risk of injection site reactions up to six days after the vaccine was given. But those reactions were no more common than those following Td vaccination.
Tseng added that the study supports the recommendation that all adults 65 and older receive the Tdap vaccine to reduce the risk of pertussis.
"Recent outbreaks of whooping cough and infant deaths are a reminder of how serious these infections are and that pertussis immunization is important, particularly since one of the most common sources of pertussis in infants is their relatives, including their grandparents," said Tseng. "These findings should instill additional confidence for clinicians serving older adult populations in recommending the Tdap vaccine as a safe way to reduce the risk of pertussis infections."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends five doses of a diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccine (DTaP) for infants and children starting at two months of age. Since protection from the childhood vaccine fades, a Tdap vaccine is recommended for preteens, teens, and adults.
Pertussis is a contagious bacterial disease that causes violent coughing and can be deadly in infants. In 1976, there were only about 1,000 cases of pertussis in the United States. But by 2010, it climbed to nearly 28,000 cases. Between 2000 and 2005, 140 deaths resulted from pertussis in the United States.




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