By Kevin Crowe, Watchdog Institute and Brooke Williams, Watchdog Institute
Washington — On the tail of the biggest whooping cough outbreak in California in more than 60 years, federal health officials said Monday that while the vaccine is highly effective, immunity may be waning for children ages 8 through 10.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) worked with the California Department of Public Health to study whooping cough cases in 15 counties, including San Diego, where two babies died from the disease and more than 1,000 were treated for it.
Officials from the CDC are presenting preliminary results of the studies this week at a national immunization conference in Washington, D.C.
“In looking at the breakdown of cases by age and vaccine status, there was a higher number in the 7 to 10-year-olds that had been fully immunized,” said Lara Misegades, an epidemic intelligence service officer with the CDC.
A KPBS and Watchdog Institute investigation published and aired in December raised questions about the efficacy of the current whooping cough vaccine as well as the possibility of a more virulent strain of the disease, also known as pertussis. Global experts on the disease agree waning immunity is a problem, but they disagree about how long vaccines are effective.