Pertussis (also known as whooping cough) is a serious, easily transmitted infection that causes severe and violent coughing episodes. The infection primarily affects adolescents and adults, but it can cause severe morbidity and death to young infants who are too young to be immunized. It is often transmitted by family members.
In the policy statement, "Additional Recommendations for Use of Tetanus Toxoid, Reduced-Content Diphtheria Toxoid, and Acellular Pertussis Vaccine (Tdap)," in the October 2011 issue of Pediatrics (published online Sept. 26), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revise previous recommendations for the use of the Tdap vaccine in children and adults.
There is no longer any minimum interval between receiving a tetanus or diphtheria toxoid-containing vaccine and Tdap when given a short time apart. The AAP advises a single dose of Tdap should be administered to children 7 through 10 years of age who were underimmunized or who have an incomplete vaccine history. The AAP continues to recommend vaccination of adolescents, including pregnant adolescents. Pregnant women should also receive the vaccine. A single dose should be given to adults who have contact with infants, even if they are older than 65, and for health care workers of any age.