The Food and Drug Administration on Monday gave the green light to Pfizer to sell a new vaccine for children aged 5 to 11 who have already been vaccinated for diseases like diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, mumps and rubella. In clinical trials, the vaccine against pertussis, also known as whooping cough, protected 95 percent of those it was administered to against the disease.
The company will begin testing the vaccine in children ages 2 to 6 in summer 2019.
Pertussis, also known as pertussis, is the most common and serious childhood disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is associated with 30,000 hospitalizations in the United States annually and 500 deaths. The severe form of whooping cough, which is spread by coughing, causes children to cough continuously and make a loud, whooping sound when they stop. The whooping sound is viewed as unusual and scary by parents of young children and causes them to fear the disease. A vaccination against whooping cough is often the only method that helps to prevent children from getting whooping cough.
In the clinical trials, 5,602 children were vaccinated with Pfizer’s new vaccine and were then monitored for the next six months for whooping cough. During the trial, there were 65 confirmed cases of pertussis, none of which were in the vaccinated group. Two children who received the vaccine and later got pertussis were hospitalized but neither had to be treated for the disease.
“It is remarkable that it’s been 20 years since the introduction of the modern pertussis vaccine,” said Dr. Bruce A. Partlow, director of Pfizer’s Vaccines and Related Biologicals business. “Our recent clinical data indicate that adults, and particularly young children, remain at risk for pertussis in their community and across the country.”
The first vaccine against whooping cough was introduced in 1967 and remains the most effective way to prevent whooping cough in Americans. While the vaccine has worked, the vaccine is still not effective enough to prevent nearly all cases of whooping cough, according to the CDC. Even the vaccines available for infants are not effective enough to prevent whooping cough in infants younger than 12 months.