Whooping cough rise blamed on new vaccines

NEW acellular vaccines may be contributing to the current whooping cough epidemic, according to new data from the Cochrane Collaboration.

Reviewers confirmed acellular vaccines were less efficacious than whole-cell vaccines which have been discontinued in Australia. 

Combined results from six efficacy and 52 safety trials found multicomponent acellular vaccines were more effective than low efficacy whole-cell vaccines, but may be less effective than the highest-efficacy whole-cell vaccines.

Professor Peter McIntyre, director of the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance, Sydney, said it was possible the acellular vaccines were contributing to the high numbers of pertussis cases in Australia, although the wider availability of PCR testing meant more cases were being identified.

“One aspect that seems to be emerging with acellular vaccines compared to whole-cell [vaccines] is the duration of immunity may be