OP/ED: Are you at risk of getting whooping cough?

Ron Hoggan B.A. B.Ed. M.A. Ed. D.
By Ron Hoggan B.A. B.Ed. M.A. Ed. D.
March 24th, 2019

There’s a vaccine against whooping cough (Bordetella pertussis) so I assumed that I am permanently immune to it.  But that turns out not to be true.  Whether we have been vaccinated or have been infected with whooping cough, we will enjoy only  transient and variable protection from contracting this ailment again, especially over the long term.   

 As early as 2005, a group of researchers at  the Department of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, led by Aaron M. Wendelboe, estimated that  ” infection  acquired immunity against pertussis disease wanes after 4-20 years and protective immunity after vaccination wanes after 4-12 years” (1).

Other investigations show that this variability can be driven by the particular type of vaccine used and a number of other factors (2).  We clearly have a great deal to learn about the protection (or lack of it) provided by pertussis vaccination.  In the meantime, it might be useful to get a booster shot and otherwise guard against exposure to this very serious condition that may be on the rise (3).  


1: Wendelboe AM, Van Rie A, Salmaso S, Englund JA. Duration of immunity against pertussis after natural infection or vaccination. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2005 May;24(5 Suppl):S58-61.

 2:Magpantay FM, Domenech DE Cellès M, Rohani P, King AA. Pertussis immunity and epidemiology: mode and duration of vaccine-induced immunity. Parasitology. 2016 Jun;143(7):835-49. doi: 10.1017/S0031182015000979. Epub 2015 Sep 4.

3: https://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/whooping-cough-case-confirmed-in-duncan-1.23659360


Categories: Health