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HHS HealthBeat (December 5, 2012)

Protecting against pertussis

A young boy coughs.

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Pertussis Vaccination

From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

Kids who are vaccinated against pertussis, or whooping cough, are a lot less likely to get sick – which is a good reason to be vaccinated.  It’s part of the five-shot series that also protects against tetanus and diphtheria.

At the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, researcher Lara Misegades compared data on children who got the shots and those who had not in 15 California counties.  She documented the benefit. But nothing is perfect, and she also found the benefit can fade:

“Within one year after having received the fifth dose of vaccine, about 98 percent of children were protected against pertussis. When we moved out to five years, about 70 percent of children were protected.”

The study was in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Last revised: December 5, 2012