The childhood vaccine for whooping cough has not been raised as a possible cause of autism, and the vaccines that were concerning have been shown not to cause autism with substantial evidence, said Stacey Martin, a staff epidemiologist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who works on pertussis.
Vaccination for whooping cough begins when a child is two months old, but a series of three shots, to be completed by six months, is necessary for adequate protection.
These shots do not last a lifetime but usually wear off by the end of middle school.
recommends an additional dose of the vaccine between 15 to 18 months of age, and between ages four and six.
At most, a child may experience mild reactions to the vaccine, including swelling at the injection site, itching, low-grade fever or restlessness, Martin
In 2005, a booster shot called Tdap was introduced for adolescents and adults that inoculates against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis.
Tdap is recommended for 11- and 12-year-olds going to their regular check-up.
Adults can replace a dose of their regular tetanus-and-diphtheria shot, given every 10 years, with Tdap, but don't have to wait out the 10 years, according to the CDC
"It's going to be a few years until we really know whether or not people need another booster dose, and what is the optimal timing for that booster dose" for Tdap, because it is so new, Martin
Adolescent coverage for whooping cough is about 41 percent nationally and 43 percent in California, Martin
For adults, it's less than 6 percent nationally.
The age group most affected by whooping cough, infants under two months old, is too young to be vaccinated, so prevention involves vaccinating people around them, she