Whooping Cough Vaccine for Adolescents

First Combination Vaccine Approved to Help Protect Adolescents Against Whooping Cough

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today approved the first combination vaccine that provides a booster immunization against pertussis (whooping cough) in combination with tetanus and diphtheria for adolescents. The vaccine will be marketed as Boostrix by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in Philadelphia, Pa.

Pertussis is a highly communicable disease of the respiratory tract that can be especially serious for infants less than one year old, and may even be fatal. Pertussis can cause spells of coughing and choking that make breathing difficult. The disease is generally less severe in adolescents, but it is thought that they might transmit the disease to susceptible infants and other family members. In the last 20 years, rates of pertussis infection have been increasing in very young infants who have not received all their immunizations and in adolescents and adults.

Boostrix is a Tetanus Toxoid (T), Reduced Diphtheria Toxoid (d) and Acellular Pertussis Vaccine (ap), Adsorbed.

Although booster vaccines for adolescents containing T and d are currently licensed and marketed for use in this age group, none contain a pertussis component. Boostrix has the same components as Infanrix, a DTaP vaccine for infants and young children, but in reduced quantities. Boostrix is indicated for use as a single booster dose to adolescents 10-18 years of age.