Social media users promote false claims about whooping cough vaccines

A local South Carolina news station reported that multiple cases of whooping cough have been identified at multiple schools. Comments on the article promote false claims that whooping cough vaccines are ineffective and cause death.

Recommendation: These types of comments may discourage people in South Carolina from vaccinating their children against pertussis, or whooping cough. Ensuring that community-based organizations and other partners in South Carolina have updated FAQs and one pagers on the importance of whooping cough vaccines is recommended. Messaging may emphasize that whooping cough is highly contagious and can cause serious illness, especially in babies. Low immunization rates cause outbreaks of the disease. About one third of babies who get whooping cough are hospitalized, and one out of 100 babies who are hospitalized with whooping cough die. Two types vaccines protect against whooping cough: diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTaP) vaccines are recommended for babies and children younger than 7 years old; and tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap) vaccines are recommended for children aged 7 and older. Studies show that DTaP vaccines are 98 percent effective one year after vaccination and 71 percent effective five years after vaccination. Tdap vaccines are about 70 percent effective at one year and 30 to 40 percent effective at four years after vaccination. Vaccinated people who contract whooping cough are less likely to develop serious symptoms.