New pertussis vaccine OK'd by FDA

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted July 4, 2005

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On June 10, the Food and Drug Administration approved the first booster vaccine that provides protection from pertussis for adults up to age 64 as well as adolescents. The vaccine, Adacel, also includes protection from tetanus and diphtheria.

The FDA approved a pertussis, diphtheria and tetanus booster, Boostrix, for adolescents in May.

Both vaccines are now available to combat the growing numbers of pertussis cases recently identified in teens and adults. Pertussis immunity from early childhood vaccinations wears off, leaving adults and adolescents susceptible to the disease, which they can then transmit to others.

Although not necessarily a serious illness in adolescents and adults, pertussis can be fatal in infants, particularly newborns who have not yet been fully vaccinated against pertussis.

Since 1980, the rates of reported pertussis cases have been increasing in adolescents and adults, as well as young infants. Adolescents and adults have been implicated as the source of pertussis infection for susceptible young infants and other family members, the FDA said.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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