Adults need a pertussis vaccine because they are one of the most common sources of infant pertussis, as noted by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. It is recommended that adults between the ages of 19 and 64 receive a one-time vaccine booster for whooping cough.
Adults can get whooping cough just like children and infants. This condition often begins like a cold, and it progressively gets worse over time. The possible effects of whooping cough include loss of breath, sleeplessness and cracked ribs, according to National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. Whooping cough causes approximately 195,000 deaths each year, as estimated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.