News | Published November 27, 2013

Whopping cough vaccine in adolescents may reduce infant hospitalizations

Immunizations are arguably the best tool we have to fight disease, and a new study published in the journal Pediatrics helps to showcase the effectiveness of the pertussis (or whopping cough) vaccine. The study found that more adolescents being vaccinated for pertussis seems to result in fewer pertussis-related hospitalizations in infants.

Whopping cough is a highly contagious disease that is preventable through vaccination; however, newborns can’t get the first dose until they are 2 months old, making them most vulnerable to the disease. To help protect infants from whopping cough, it is extremely important that people who are around young children are vaccinated.

In 2005, a booster shot called Tdap was developed for adolescents and adults to build immunity against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis. It is recommended that 11- and 12-year-olds receive the Tdap vaccine at their regular check-up appointment. Adults can receive a Tdap shot every 10 years, but can get it earlier if needed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that 13-18-year-olds who haven’t gotten the Tdap shot should talk to their parents and physician about getting vaccinated.

The study showed how the vaccine helps adolescents, but also indirectly protects babies as well. The more people who receive the vaccination, the more chance that it will not be spread to unprotected infants. It is great to see immunizations working for those who are immunized and even those who aren’t.

Talk to you and your child’s physicians to see if you are in need of a vaccination. It will not only protect you, but your loved ones and community members.