Infant pertussis vaccine moved forward

The 10th edition of the handbook recommends the first dose of DTPa-containing vaccines can be given as early as six weeks, down from two months of age in the old version.

Giving the first dose at six weeks rather than two months of age is estimated to prevent an additional 8% of infant pertussis cases, according to the handbook.

Similarly, an additional dose of pertussis vaccine can be given at 18 months of age if parents want to minimise the risk of pertussis infection in their child, though it is not included in the Medicare National Immunisation Program schedule, and does not replace the booster dose at four