Questions over whooping cough vaccine - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Questions over whooping cough vaccine

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LOS ANGELES -

Twins Solania and Enzo, 5, are getting their fifth dose of the DTaP vaccine today. It protects against Diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis, also known as whooping cough.

"I think it's important to protect the kids from all the illnesses out there," mom Teresa Barrera said.

A new study in the New England Journal of Medicine is raising concerns about that final dose of whooping cough vaccine and just how long it protects children. Kaiser Permanente researchers found the effectiveness of the shot fades about 40 percent in the 5 years after the vaccination.

"Every year it gets a little less effective, a little less effective," said Dr. Amy Porter, a pediatrician at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center.

This is a record year for the whooping cough. Doctors are reporting at least 26,000 cases so far.

Porter says infants under 6 months old are most susceptible because they're not fully vaccinated yet. In the study, 80 percent of the kids who had whooping cough caught it from an older relative.

"As time goes on and the vaccines get less and less effective, it's time for those booster shots," Porter said.

Experts recommend older people get a booster if they didn't have one in their teens.

Teresa Barrera feels good knowing her family is protected.

"I think it's important," she said. "I think it's better some protection than no protection at all."

Her twins will need another whooping cough booster in about six years.

Doctors also recommend pregnant women who are not vaccinated receive one dose in late pregnancy or right after they deliver.

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