What to do about pertussis vaccines? Linking what we know about pertussis vaccine effectiveness, immunology and disease transmission to create a better vaccine.
Pathog Dis. 2015 Nov ;73(8). Epub 2015 Aug 6. PMID: 26253079
Pertussis (whooping cough) is a respiratory disease caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. Despite the implementation of immunization programs and high vaccine coverage in most jurisdictions, pertussis is still one of the most common vaccine-preventable diseases, suggesting that the current vaccines and immunization schedules have not been sufficiently effective. Several factors are thought to contribute to this. The acellular pertussis vaccine that has been used in many jurisdictions since the 1990s is less effective than the previously used whole-cell vaccine, with immunity waning over time. Both whole-cell and acellular pertussis vaccines are effective at reducing disease severity but not transmission, resulting in outbreaks in vaccinated cohorts. In this review, we discuss various limitations of the current approaches to protection from pertussis and outline various options for reducing the burden of pertussis on a population level.