Building a better vaccine
A whooping cough vaccine introduced in the 1990s has fewer side effects than its predecessor, but it may not protect against the disease as well, Nathan Seppa reported in “Whooping cough bounces back” (SN: 4/19/14, p. 22). The old vaccine used whole cells of the pertussis bacterium, while the new acellular vaccine uses only components of the disease-causing cells.
Vaccinations are a hot-button topic, with some parents worried about possible side effects and others worried about the spread of illness from unvaccinated kids. Reader response to the whooping cough story reflected this growing unease. “Here’s a novel idea: Give parents a choice of which vaccine to