NIAW: Tdap Vaccine

Tdap Vaccine

What is whooping cough (pertussis)? Why do preteens and teens need to be protected from it?

Pertussis – also known as whooping cough – is an easily spread respiratory disease known for uncontrollable violent coughing that often makes it hard to breathe. Whooping cough can make teens ill with a serious cough that can last for weeks and be quite debilitating. While they are sick, people can easily spread the disease. In the United States, most vaccine-preventable diseases are rare, but this is not true with whooping cough. It still causes outbreaks.

Protection against whooping cough from the vaccine fades over time.

So at 11 or 12 years old, children need one dose of Tdap, even if they received all necessary whooping cough vaccines in early childhood. This dose provides a boost in immunity for whooping cough. CDC also recommends teens who have never received a dose of whooping cough receive Tdap.

How many cases of whooping cough were reported last year?

In 2016, more than 15,000 cases were provisionally reported in the United States.


Why are we seeing more whooping cough over the last 20 or so years?

There are several reasons that help explain why we’re seeing more reported cases of whooping cough lately. Studies have shown that the whooping cough vaccines we use now, while safer, do not protect for as long as the old type of whooping cough vaccines. This is known as waning immunity. We are also more aware of whooping cough, have better tests to diagnose it, and have better systems for reporting.

 CDC’s current estimate is that Tdap fully protects seven out of 10 preteens and teens who receive it against whooping cough, but that protection fades over time. Tdap fully protects about three or four out of 10 teens are from whooping cough four years after getting Tdap.

Adolescents who get Tdap and still get whooping cough have fewer coughing fits, are coughing for fewer days, and are less likely to suffer from disease complications.

Did You Know?

  • These 3 diseases are all caused by bacteria. Both diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough) are spread from person to person. Tetanus enters the body through cuts, scratches, or wounds.
  • Before vaccines, each year the U.S. averaged around
    • 500-600 cases of tetanus;
    • 100,000—200,000 cases of diphtheria;
    • 175,000 cases of pertussis.

The Public Health offices can offer this vaccine for a reduced cost under the Wyoming Vaccinates Important People program. This vaccine is provided for only an administration fee for administering it. The vaccine itself is free and there is no office visit fee. If your child is entering the 7th grade this year, school immunization regulations require a Tdap booster. If your child has not had one yet, please call our offices at 885-9598 or 877-3780 to make an appointment. 

–All information on this page is taken from the CDC.