Researchers at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax are investigating whether all adults should be given whooping cough vaccinations every 10 years — and they're searching for people who graduated from high school in 2007-2008 and had a shot when they were younger to help them find out the answer.
Traditionally, Nova Scotian children are vaccinated against whooping cough, with the last shot administered in high school. Adults do not usually get the shot.
Dr. Scott Halperin, the principal investigator behind the research, says that over the last five to 10 years, there’s been a whooping cough resurgence.
"It doesn't kill you in adults, but it can give you a cough that can last for months,” he said. “But more importantly, adults are the main source of giving the infection to those young infants."
Whooping cough can be fatal to infants who are too young to get the vaccine.
The IWK has about 115 participants in the study, but they are looking for about 350. Researchers say they think part of the problem in finding recruits is that people don’t like needles.
Medical student Jennifer Frazer is not a fan of needles, but is participating in the study.
"We know they're beneficial and there's so many benefits to getting [vaccinations], so even though I hate needles, [I] still do it, because it's important," she said.
In order for researchers to pass on their findings to Health Canada — which makes recommendations about the vaccination schedule — researchers will need to get enough data from a large enough sample pool.