The US Food and Drug Administration has given the green light to Sanofi-Aventis’ diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough booster vaccine, Adacel, for adolescents and adults aged 11 to 64 years.

Adacel is the first vaccine approved as a whooping cough booster for adults, the FDA said on Friday. Whooping cough, or pertussis, is a highly contagious illness – it can be fatal, particularly in those too young to be fully vaccinated. The hope is that a booster shot for adults and adolescents will help reduce the rate of infection in these age groups, as well helping cut the risk of the infection spreading to susceptible young infants and other family members.

The Adacel approval comes just over a month after GlaxoSmithKline’s Boostrix vaccine was given the nod for use in adolescents aged 10 to 18 [[04/05/05e]].