New research findings support a 2010 recommendation to immunize adults aged 65 years or older with the tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccine to prevent the spread of highly contagious pertussis, which can be fatal in infants who are too young for immunization (Tseng HF et al. Clin Infect Dis. doi: 10.1093/cid/cis871 [published online November 28, 2012]).
Researchers compared 119 573 adults aged 65 years or older who received Tdap vaccine with the same number of older adults who were immunized with the tetanus and diphtheria (Td) vaccine between 2006 and 2010 at 7 US health maintenance organizations. The study analyzed whether either group had higher rates of several adverse events, including meningitis, encephalitis, encephalopathy, Bell palsy, Guillain-Barré syndrome, brachial neuritis, paralytic syndromes, anaphylaxis, and inflammatory or allergic reactions.
Voelker R. Study Finds Tdap Vaccine Is Safe for Older Adults. JAMA. 2012;308(24):2555. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.156591