Pertussis vaccine at birth is safe, say Aussie researchers

Newborn dose 'significantly narrows the immunity gap'

A pertussis-only vaccine given at birth is immunogenic and safe, according to results of a large randomised Australian trial.

Dr Nicholas Wood, from the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance of Vaccine Preventable Diseases in NSW, and colleagues assessed the immunogenicity and safety of a monovalent acellular pertussis vaccination at birth in 440 healthy term infants.

By random assignment, 221 received a dose of acellular pertussis vaccine within five days of birth followed by the routine vaccination schedule and 219 received the routine vaccination schedule alone.

Newborns who received the pertussis-only vaccine at birth had significantly higher antibody titres to pertussis antigens (both pertussis toxin and pertactin) at 10 weeks of age relative to infants who did not receive the vaccine at birth.

They also had higher pertussis antibodies (pertussis