Whooping cough vaccine effect wears off in a few years, affecting millions of teenagers who were vaccinated yet became vulnerable again in just four years’ time.
Before children reach kindergarten age, physicians recommend that they are vaccinated five times against the whooping cough. A booster dose of the whooping cough vaccine is usually administered as a booster when the children reach 11 to 12 years of age. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that all adults between 19 and 64 years old get the whooping cough vaccine as well. In addition, pregnant women are advised to get a booster shot with each pregnancy.
Despite these recommendations, the whooping cough vaccine effect wears off in a few years according to a new study. As per the findings of the study featuring in the Pediatrics journal, only 69 percent of children aged 11 to 12 are protected during the first year following vaccination. However, after a four-year timeframe, only 9 percent of the children are still protected against the whooping cough.
Albeit whooping cough vaccination reaching high rates, the U.S. has experienced a recent surge in whooping cough cases. A weak form of the whooping cough vaccine has caused the number of cases to increased gradually since the 1990s to reach 48,277 cases of infection in addition to 20 deaths in 2012.
In 1938, the U.S. health agencies registered over 227,000 cases of infection with the whooping cough. In 1976, the CDC reports that the number of cases had dropped to about 1,000. However, with the introduction of a new vaccine formula in the 1990s, the number of cases starting going up again.
The previous whooping cough vaccine was replaced as it side-effects, albeit temporary, were affecting patients to a large extent. Fever, limp muscles, seizures and mood swings were among the top side effects cited by patients.
As such, the 1990s saw the introduction of a safer whooping cough vaccine called the DTaP. While safer, it certainly doesn’t have the same efficacy rate of the older vaccine formula. Those who are more prone to be infected with whooping cough are children aged 10 to 16, despite being the population segment with the highest rate of vaccination.
The whooping cough vaccine effect wears off in a few years according to the authors of the study. Against this background, the most vulnerable people are those born after the introduction of the DTaP vaccine. Without new research conducted on possible alternative for the DTaP vaccine, the risk of spiking whooping cough cases will only increase year by year.
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