Research published on the 24th of June has added to concerns over the effectiveness of whooping cough vaccinations without an additional booster for school age children.
The study from the Oxford University found that from a sample of 279 children, who had visited their doctor with a persistent cough lasting 2-8 weeks, 20% were confirmed as having whooping cough, also known as pertussis. Of this 20%, 18% were fully vaccinated.
The researchers were looking inform the debate over whether the UK should go the way of the US, Australia, Canada, France and Germany and introduce an adolescent booster vaccination to try and improve protection against whooping cough.
There is already a pre-school whooping cough booster in the UK, but immunity is reported to last between 4-12 years after immunization (or 7-20 years after infection). Supporting these reports, the researchers found that the risk of whooping cough was three times greater in children who had received their pre-school booster more than 7 years prior to visiting their doctor.
“The results of our study will help inform ongoing discussions about whether an adolescent booster vaccination should be introduced in the UK. However, more evidence is still needed on the socioeconomic burden of whooping cough in this age group. If current discussions conclude that an adolescent pertussis booster vaccination is likely to be cost-effective, administering this alongside the existing routine adolescent booster vaccinations (meningococcus C and tetanus, diphtheria, and inactivated polio) may be the most efficient way of ensuring high vaccination coverage.” Lead author Dr. Kay Wang