Reporting Sandra McNeill
DETROIT (WWJ/AP) - A new preliminary study shows that children may need more frequent vaccines to prevent pertussis, known as whooping cough. The study, out of California, reported that kids were getting sick about three years after the vaccine.
In Detroit, Children’s Hospital pediatrician Dr Eric McGrath said there were 1,000 cases of whopping cough in Michigan last year, but he’ll still stick to the once every ten years recommendation for now.
“Unless the CDC [Centers for Disease Control] steps in and says this is so concerning that we need to give everyone an additional dose … I think that overall, at least locally here, parents should just make sure that their children are up to date,” McGrath said, adding that there is no need to panic.
“I don’t think we should just have everyone just like running fearful of everyone getting pertussis. But, at the same time, what can you do? You can just get vaccinated,” he said.
McGrath said parents need to make sure they bring their children back for that second shot. Everyone who comes into contact with babies should also make sure to be vaccinated.
California schools have turned away thousands of middle and high school students this fall who haven’t gotten the booster shot typically given at age 11 or 12. That state had a huge spike in whooping cough cases last year, during which more than 9,100 people were sickened and 10 babies died after exposure from adults or older children.
The study of cases in Marin County, Calif., found the risk of getting the disease was as much as 20 times higher in kids three years or more after they
finished receiving a recommended series of vaccinations. But kids vaccinated more recently were well protected.
The study is based on a review last year of roughly 15,000 children in Marin County, including 132 who got whooping cough. The findings may help explain why significant numbers of fully immunized children got whooping cough in the recent outbreaks.
Meantime, CDC officials say that it’s too soon to say if the booster should regularly be given to children that young, but that they are studying the issue.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.