Whooping Cough

Mayo Clinic Q&A: Vaccine against pertussis is effective, but immunity tends to weaken over time

DEAR MAYO CLINIC: How is it that children who have been vaccinated against pertussis still end up with the disease? Was the vaccination they received not effective? There are many new cases of it in our school, and adults are being told to get a booster. Is this just to protect children, or can adults get the disease as well?

ANSWER: The vaccine against pertussis, or whooping cough, is effective; however, the immunity the vaccine generates tends to weaken over time. To counter this, boosters of the pertussis vaccine are recommended for children as they get older. Adults can get pertussis, too. For the best protection again this infection, and to help keep it from spreading, adults...