Tetanus-Diphtheria-Pertussis Shot Deemed Safe for Seniors

No more adverse events seen with Tdap than with the Td vaccination in large study

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Immunizing older adults with the tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccine appears to be safe, according to a study published online Nov. 28 in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Hung Fu Tseng, Ph.D., from Kaiser Permanente in Pasadena, Calif., and colleagues assessed the risk of seven major groups of pre-specified adverse events among a population of 119,573 older adults (65 years and older) who received the Tdap vaccine and an equal number of older adults who received the tetanus and diphtheria (Td) vaccine -- all between 2006 and 2010.

The researchers found that the risk for the pre-specified events was comparable for the two vaccine types. In a self-controlled case series analysis, there was a small increased rate of medically attended inflammatory or allergic events in the first six days after Tdap vaccination (rate ratio, 1.59).

"Although there is a small increased risk of medically attended inflammatory or allergic events in one to six days following Tdap compared to other time periods, it is no more common than that following Td," the authors write. "This study provides empirical safety data that suggest the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices' recommendation for immunizing adults 65 years and older with Tdap to reduce the risk of pertussis in the elderly and their contacts should not have untoward safety consequences."

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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