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Boostrix - Tdap Pertussis Vaccine

Whooping Cough Vaccines


Updated June 19, 2014

Boostrix is a whooping cough vaccine that provides protection against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough) for adolescents between the ages of 10 and 18 years. It's approval by the FDA in 2005 was welcome news to parents and pediatricians who had been worried about the increase in the number of cases of pertussis in recent years.

A similar Tdap vaccine, Adacel, was also recently approved by the FDA.

According to the FDA, 'pertussis is a highly communicable disease of the respiratory tract that can be especially serious for infants less than one year old, and may even be fatal. Pertussis can cause spells of coughing and choking that make breathing difficult. The disease is generally less severe in adolescents, but it is thought that they might transmit the disease to susceptible infants and other family members. In the last 20 years, rates of pertussis infection have been increasing in very young infants who have not received all their immunizations and in adolescents and adults.'

Boostrix and Adacel, the Tdap vaccines, includes the tetanus toxoid (T), reduced diphtheria toxoid (d) and acellular pertussis (ap) vaccine in a single shot.

Teens will be glad to hear that the approval of a new vaccine doesn't really mean that they need to get another shot. Instead, it will replace the Td (tetanus booster) that they were already receiving when they were 11 or 12 years old.

Other facts about the Tdap vaccines include that they are:

  • preservative free (which means that, like most new vaccines, it doesn't contain thimerosal)
  • made with reduced quantities of the same antigens that are in the Infanrix DTaP vaccine that many kids already get
  • can be given to kids between the ages of 7 and 10 years if they are not fully vaccinated with other whooping cough vaccines, like DTaP
  • recommended for adults between the ages of 19 and 64 as a one time dose
  • can be given to seniors over the age of 65 if they are going to have close contact with an infant less than 12 months of age
  • should be given to pregnant women during each pregnancy

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