The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has revised its recommendation on the Tdap vaccine and now urges all adults to get a single dose from their health care provider. Dr. Tom Clark, a CDC medical epidemiologist, said that even adults who had whooping cough as children or who were previously vaccinated should get a dose of Tdap. A 2010 survey found that only 8% of adults have gotten a Tdap booster. The Tdap vaccine is sold under the brand names Boostrix and Adacel.
The Tdap vaccine protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis. Diphtheria has been nearly eliminated in the United States and tetanus has about 30 or 40 documented cases a year. Unfortunately, pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is surging in many states across the nation.
The CDC has tracked nearly 18,000 cases of pertussis in the United States this year, more than twice as many as last year at this time. Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the agency’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said, “We may need to go back to 1959 to find a year with as many cases reported by this time. I think there may be more coming to a place near you.”