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Saturday, October 08, 2011

The Vaccine Times: Whooping Cough Vaccine Protection Might Wane Sooner Than Previously Thought

Science is about examining, and re-examining information and data.  That is why it is dynamic (and not static and dogmatic despite the claims of denialists of all sorts).  As of late, Pertussis (or Whooping Cough as it is also know) has had a serious resurgence amongst numerous populations.  In part it is due to the anti-vax pro-disease nutters spreading their lies, but there may be some other factors that play into it.  So a paper has been presented that I found out about at The Vaccine Times:
According to new research by Dr. David Witt, presented at the American Society for Microbiology conference in Chicago on Monday, the protection conferred by the whooping cough vaccine, as currently administered might wane quicker than previously thought. His study suggests that the vaccine’s protection might considerably wane as soon as 3 years after receipt of the last dose.

The study looked at 15,000 children in Marin County, California, including 132 who got whooping cough last year. It found that children who had gone three years or more since the last of their five original shots were up to 20 times more likely to become infected than children who had been more recently vaccinated. The biggest number of cases was in children 8 to 12 years old. The CDC’s own studies also show a drop off in protection, however not as steep as Dr. Witt’s drop.

So what does all this mean? Given that this study is relatively small, even its authors agree that it needs further confirmation. If the results hold however, it might mean that the time between booster shots may need to be reduced.  Alternatively, a more effective vaccine might be developed, although I cannot say how realistic that scenario might be. Or it may not lead to any changes. Although protection wanes, generally speaking vaccinated children have less severe cases of illness than unvaccinated kids, so the waning protection might not justify a change in the booster shot timing or frequency. It is simply too early to say at this point.

I must note, the study took place in a region of the world where the anti-vax pro-disease nutters have a great deal of sway.  I wonder if their actions also contributed to this particular study results?

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