A panel of U.S. government health advisers has recommended expanding use of a vaccine against whooping cough in five to 11-year-olds, even as the case count surged in recent months.
It was the first recommendation from a federal panel for the routine immunization of children up to 5 years old in the United States since 1991.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, in a panel report released Monday, also added an additional dose to children aged 5 to 9 who had received fewer than two doses of the current vaccine.
What exactly should parents consider taking into consideration in making a decision about a recommended vaccine?
“As they review the new options, parents should work with their children’s health care providers and health care organizations to consider the balance of benefits and the balance of risks associated with the vaccine for each individual child,” Dr. Shereef Elnahal, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, wrote in an accompanying editorial.
Dr. Shannon Rhoads, an infectious disease specialist at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., said in an interview that there are several things to consider. If a family is concerned about side effects, she said, parents can ask about side effects of the new vaccine against pertussis, or whooping cough. If the parents are concerned about dying a lower death rate, they can request additional documentation.