18-month pertussis booster could be reinstated

GlaxoSmithKline, manufacturer of Infanrix (diphtheria/tetanus/dTPa), has made a submission to the November meeting of the PBAC to request the inclusion of the additional dose on the NIP.

The 18-month booster was removed from the vaccination schedule in 2003 and replaced by a booster for adolescents.

However, recent research from Queensland confirmed the effectiveness of the acellular vaccine wanes from two years after the last dose. The study found that in 2010 children aged between seven and just under 11 years – the first birth cohort to receive the acellular vaccine instead of the whole-cell vaccine – had the highest rates of pertussis infection.

In an opinion piece in the Medical Journal of Australia, Professor Peter McIntyre, director of the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) and Professor Terry Nolan, head of the School of Population and Global Health at the University of Melbourne, said such rapid