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Lancet. 1983 Nov 12;2(8359):1129-32.

Pertussis: herd immunity and vaccination coverage in St Lucia.


In a single complete epidemic in St Lucia, an island too small to support constant clinical pertussis, the pertussis case rates in small communities (villages and small towns) with differing levels of vaccination coverage of young children were compared. The association between greater vaccination coverage and greater herd immunity was clear, despite the imperfect protection given to individuals. An analysis in terms of population dynamics is evidence against the theory that endemic subclinical pertussis maintains transmission in a highly vaccinated population. We suggest that with a homogeneous vaccination coverage of 80% of 2-year-old children pertussis might be eradicated from the island, and that this is a practicable experiment.

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