The US Food and Drug Administration has given the go-ahead to GlaxoSmithKline’s Boostrix – the first booster combination vaccine for immunising adolescents against whooping cough, tetanus and diphtheria.

Whilst whooping cough is generally less severe amongst adolescents than in infants, the agency says there are concerns they might transmit the disease to susceptible family members.

No other booster vaccines containing tetanus and diphtheria have a whooping cough component, and immunity from childhood vaccination generally begins to wear off after five to 10 years, leaving many adolescents susceptible to this highly contagious disease. Boostrix joins GSK’s Infanrix – a DTaP vaccine for infants and young children – and is indicated for use as a single booster dose to adolescents 10-18 years of age.