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Clin Infect Dis. 2020 Jan 2;70(2):200-207. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciz199.

National Outbreak of Pertussis in England, 2011-2012: A Case-control Study Comparing 3-Component and 5-Component Acellular Vaccines With Whole-cell Pertussis Vaccines.

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European Programme for Intervention Epidemiology Training, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, Public Health England, London, United Kingdom.
Multidisciplinary Unit for Biomedical Research, Institute of Biomedical Sciences Abel Salazar, University of Porto, Portugal.
National Infection Service, Public Health England, London, United Kingdom.



In England, acellular pertussis (aP) vaccines replaced whole-cell pertussis (wP) vaccine in the primary immunization course in October 2004. Despite sustained high vaccine coverage, 10 454 cases were confirmed in England in 2011-2012, including 1648 (16%) in those aged 10-19 years. These individuals had been primed with either 3-component (aP3) or 5-component (aP5) aP vaccines or wP vaccine due to temporary supply shortages. We aimed to compare protection provided by different pertussis vaccines.


We conducted a case-control study. Individuals born between 1997 and 2005, fully vaccinated in England, were included. Cases were laboratory confirmed between January 2011 and December 2012. Controls were identified from population vaccination registers, representing 20% of the population. We compared the odds of receiving different types of vaccines in cases and controls, adjusting for year of birth and time since last vaccine received. Odds ratios (ORs) were calculated with 95% confidence intervals (CIs).


We analyzed 403 cases and 581 971 controls with 4 pertussis vaccines recorded. Compared to those who received 3 doses of wP for the primary course, cases had higher odds of receiving 3 doses of aP3 (OR, 3.86 [95% CI, 2.56-5.82]) but no significant association with receipt of 3 doses of aP5 (OR, 0.89 [95% CI, .29-2.73]).


Previous studies have suggested that aP3 and aP5 vaccines provide shorter duration of protection than wP vaccine. Our findings suggest that a primary course with aP3 is associated with increased risk of confirmed pertussis compared with wP. Although follow-up was shorter for aP5 cohorts, their risk did not seem to differ from wP.


England; acellular vaccine; outbreak; pertussis; whole-cell vaccine


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