Shedding Light in the Darkness

How Effective is the Whooping Cough Vaccine?


The Vaccine Reaction reports on a new study published in Emerging Infectious Diseases on 26 vaccinated Florida pre-schoolers, who got sick with B. pertussis whooping cough or had pertussis-like symptoms during a five-month period in 2013. All of the children, aged one to five years, had received three to four doses of pertussis vaccine (Tdap) according to the CDC recommended schedule.

A Kaiser Permanente study published in Pediatrics concluded that Tdap vaccine effectiveness was only 69% among 1200 California adolescents given Tdap during pertussis outbreaks between 2010 and 2014 in that state. Vaccine effectiveness waned to less than 9% after four years. And, despite a Tdap adolescent coverage of more than 90% in northern California, they had the highest incidence of pertussis of any age group in 2014.

Another a study published in October 2015 in Pediatrics noted: “Most pertussis in the US is occurring among “recently vaccinated children and adolescents. Additional doses of Tdap are unlikely to reduce the overall burden of pertussis; and “even in settings where all household contacts are up-to-date with pertussis vaccinations, asymptomatic transmission of pertussis may occur, further impeding the success of the cocooning strategy.”

The CDC reports that “the bacteria that cause pertussis are always changing at the genetic level” and there is “waning immunity” from the vaccine.

One wonders if California’s legislators have got this news. In California, all students entering, advancing or transferring into 7th grade have to show proof of an adolescent whooping cough booster immunization. All public and private schools are affected by the law.


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