03/06/2014 08:55 EST | Updated 05/06/2014 05:59 EDT

B.C. considers adding whooping cough booster for children

The provincial government is considering adjusting the whooping cough booster schedule to better protect infants from being infected by older children.

Under the current schedule, whooping cough boosters are administered to children in kindergarten and Grade 9. While cases in B.C. are on the decline, research has shown the effectiveness of the whooping cough vaccine drops from 85 per cent to 70 per cent within five years of it being delivered. 

The province is therefore looking at giving elementary school-aged children a second whooping cough booster, in order to prevent the spread of infection from older children to babies and infants.

Dr. Danuta Skowronski with the B.C. Centre For Disease Control says one of the deciding factors will be cost.

"We have to ask ourselves, 'Is that a cost effective approach to add yet another booster dose? What kind of an impact is that going to have overall in the community of pertussis, and most especially in protecting very young children?'" she said.

Whooping cough outbreaks happen every two to five years. B.C. had outbreaks in 2012 and 2013.