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Nov.-Dec. 2011, Vol. XXVI, No. 6
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Health Briefs
Boostrix vaccine approved for older adults

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved use of the Boostrix vaccine, which prevents tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough), for adults age 65 and older. The vaccine initially was approved in 2005 for adolescents ages 10-18 and in 2008 was approved for adults ages 19-64.

Approval of the vaccine for an older population comes after two studies of its safety and effectiveness involving about 1,100 people ages 65 and over, the FDA says. Vaccines previously were available for the prevention of tetanus and diphtheria in people age 65 and older, but Boostrix is the first vaccine approved for the over-65 population to prevent pertussis as well.

“Pertussis is a highly contagious disease, and outbreaks have occurred among the elderly in nursing homes and hospitals,” says Karen Midthun, M.D., an FDA director. “With this approval, adults 65 and older now have the opportunity to receive a vaccine that prevents pertussis as well as tetanus and diphtheria.”

According to the FDA, the most common side effects reported by adults age 65 and older after getting the single-dose Boostrix shot were headache, fatigue and pain at the site of the injection.


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