The FDA has approved Boostrix in persons aged 65 years and older, thereby clearing the first vaccine for preventing tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap) in this age group.

The Tdap vaccine was originally approved for use in adolescents aged 10 through 18 years, but the indication has been expanded to include adults aged 19 through 64 years. Although other vaccines for the prevention of tetanus and diphtheria are available to persons aged 65 years and older, none prevents all three diseases.

The incidence of pertussis has been on the rise since 2007, with large, local outbreaks occurring in 2010 in California, Michigan, and Ohio. Outbreaks of this highly contagious disease have occurred among the elderly in nursing homes and hospitals.

A study of approximately 1,300 people aged 65 years and older demonstrated good antibody-level response, with the most common adverse reactions reported as headache, fatigue, and pain at the injection site.