Whooping Cough Vaccine and Seniors

Posted at: 12/03/2012 12:41 PM

For years, the Whooping Cough vaccine was not considered safe for everyone. However a new Clinical Infectious Diseases study confirms that older adults can get the vaccine.

Medical Minute: Whooping cough or pertussis is spread by inhaling the bacteria coughed into the air. The illness can lead to infection, hospitalization and even death. It killed thousands of people in the United States before a vaccine became available and it continues to cause outbreaks throughout the country.

Prior to 2011, the combined tetanus-diphtheria-whooping cough vaccine was not considered safe for adults 65 years of age or older mainly because there was no data available on this age group.

Researchers studied thousands of elderly people between 2006 and 2010 who received the combined vaccine. They found that there was only a small increased risk of an adverse or allergic reaction in the first six days following the vaccination.

Researchers concluded that the seniors 65 and older are safe to receive the vaccine and reduce the risk of pertussis.