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Failure to vaccinate linked to pertussis deaths

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today released disappointing numbers about adults who had received the tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap) vaccine. (It's the third item in its Oct. 14 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.)

“Suboptimal” is how the agency described the 5.9 percent of adults who had reportedly received the vaccine by 2008, three years after the CDC first recommended the shot. The low numbers undoubtedly contributed to the recent spike in pertussis cases across the United States, including the death of nine infants in California because of the disease. The shot serves as a one-time substitution for the traditional 10-year booster dose of tetanus, diphtheria (Td) vaccine.

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