The whooping cough — or pertussis — vaccine used today is different from the one used as recently as the late 1990s. The older vaccine used whole pertussis cells, but it was shelved in favor of a vaccine with purified cells. The newer vaccine has fewer side effects, doctors have noted thatĀ its efficacy wanes more quickly. This new study reinforces prior reports.

To protect children against whooping cough, doctors recommend five shots of vaccine before they turn 7. But what happens after that? How long does the protection last? Researchers at the Kaiser Permanente Vaccine Study Center checked it out. They compared 277 kids who came down with whooping cough, or pertussis, to more than 3,000 children who tested negative for it.

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