Acceleration of Pertussis Vaccination May Save Infants

Accelerated pertussis vaccination may reduce rate of pertussis infections, hospitalizations and deaths
By Lisa Cockrell, PhD
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Nov. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Incidence of pertussis infection in infants may be dramatically decreased by accelerating administration of the pertussis vaccine, according to research published in November in Pediatrics.

Myrick C. Shinall, Jr., of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., and colleagues gathered existing estimates of rates of infections, hospitalizations and deaths due to pertussis in U.S. infants from 1990 to 1999. The authors then used this data to develop a mathematical model to predict the effect of administering the pertussis vaccine to infants two weeks earlier (6 weeks instead of 8 weeks of age).

Earlier administration of the pertussis vaccine was predicted to reduce the number of pertussis cases by 9 percent (1,236 cases), the investigators found. In the model, this led to a decrease in hospitalizations by 9 percent (898 hospitalizations), and decreased the number of deaths by 6 percent (seven deaths). Acceleration of the subsequent second and third pertussis vaccinations also predicted the same trend, the researchers report.

"Vaccines have tremendous potential to reduce disease rates and, as new data become available, practices should continue to modify their vaccination practices to optimize the impact," the authors conclude.

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