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ACIP Recommends Adolescent Vaccination for Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis Vaccine

ACIP (Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices)

June 30, 2005

A panel of immunization experts meeting in Atlanta today (June 30, 2005) voted to recommend newly licensed booster tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough) vaccines (Tdap) to help reduce the number of cases of pertussis among adolescents.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that adolescents 11 and 12 years of age be given Tdap in place of the tetanus-diphtheria (Td) booster currently given to adolescents. The committee also recommended that Tdap be given to adolescents 13 through 18 who missed the 11 to 12 year dose of Td, and adolescents 11 to 18 who have already been vaccinated with Td are encouraged to receive a dose of Tdap to further protect against the pertussis.

“Reported cases of pertussis have been increasing dramatically over the past few years,” said Dr. Steve Cochi, acting director of CDC’s National Immunization Program. “Treatment of pertussis is effective only if given early, before symptoms can be recognized as pertussis. Therefore, vaccination is the best way to prevent suffering from pertussis. This recommendation is an important step in reducing this potentially serious disease.”

Most reported pertussis cases among adolescents and adults occur because of decline in protective immunity over time. Immunity against pertussis wanes five to ten years after the last childhood vaccination.

Infants acquire pertussis, often from siblings and parents at home, when they are still too young to be vaccinated against the disease, or when not yet vaccinated. Children are recommended to be vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTaP) at two, four, six and 15 to 18 months of age, and at four to six years of age.

“Pertussis can be very severe in infants. It is important that parents vaccinate their children, on time to prevent this serious and potentially life-threatening disease in infants,” said Cochi.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently licensed two Tdap vaccines for adolescents in the United States. BOOSTRIX®, manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals, was licensed by the FDA on May 3, 2005 for use in adolescents 10 through 18 years of age. The second, ADACEL™, manufactured by sanofi pasteur, was licensed on June 10, 2005 for persons 11 through 64 years of age. These are the first pertussis vaccines licensed for use in adolescents and adults.

The committee did not make a recommendation for use of Tdap among adults. Background information on adult immunization was presented and the committee will consider a vote on adult immunization at future ACIP meetings to allow members more time to review adult pertussis immunization data.

Reported pertussis cases increased throughout the 1990s and increases have continued to the present. Cases of pertussis were reduced by more than 90 percent following introduction of diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTP) vaccine in the 1940s. Pertussis cases have increased from a low of 1,020 cases in 1976 to more than 19,000 cases in 2004, a 40-year high. Reported pertussis-related deaths among infants increased from about ten per year in the 1990s to about 20 per year during this decade.

For more information on pertussis visit

The ACIP, consisting of 15 members appointed by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), advises the director of CDC and Secretary of HHS on control of vaccine-preventable disease and vaccine usage. Recommendations of the ACIP become CDC policy when they are accepted by the director of CDC and are published in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

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This page last modified on June 30, 2005


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