Booster Shot for Whooping Cough Vaccine

By: Ali Gorman, R.N.
By: Ali Gorman, R.N.

Pertussis, otherwise known as whooping cough, is a very contagious respiratory illness. Before a vaccine was made, whooping cough killed about 5,000 to 10,000 children.

After the vaccine, the number of cases dropped dramatically, but the incidence of pertussis is now growing again. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there were 18,957 reported cases in 2004. This jumped from 10,670 cases in 2003.

Because of this, the FDA panel urges the FDA to approve two new pertussis vaccines and recommends older children get booster shots starting at age 10 or 11. Health officials say the booster is not necessarily to protect older children, but to prevent them from spreading the illness to younger children.

If the FDA approves the panel's recommendation, there will be a change made to the vaccination schedule sometime in the future.

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