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 that 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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Lisa Aliferis

Lisa Aliferis is the founding editor of KQED's State of Health blog. Since 2011, she's been writing and editing stories for the site. Before taking up blogging, she toiled for many years (more than we can count) producing health stories for television, including Dateline NBC and San Francisco's CBS affiliate, KPIX-TV. She also wrote up a handy guide to the Affordable Care Act, especially for Californians. Her work has been honored for many awards. Most recently she was a finalist for "Best Topical Reporting" from the Online News Association. You can follow her on Twitter: @laliferis

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