Acellular Pertussis Vaccines

While the first pertussis vaccine actually used inactivated Bordetella pertussis cells, this type of whole cell vaccine was thought to cause too many side effects.

DTP and DTaP protect against diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough.
DTP and DTaP protect against diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough.

The whole cell pertussis vaccine (DTP) began to be replaced with the acellular pertussis vaccine in 1996. These DTaP vaccines use purified, inactivated components of Bordetella pertussis cells.

Acellular Pertussis Vaccines

The current acellular pertussis vaccines include DTaP and Tdap.

The Tdap formulations were added for teens and adults in 2005. It actually contains less of the diphtheria component than the pediatric formulation.

Unfortunately, these new vaccines don’t work as well as the ones they were made to replace, leading to waning immunity and contributing to our pertussis outbreaks.

And even more tragically, we may not have needed to replace them in the first place!

It turns out that many of the serious vaccine injuries that were supposedly caused by the DTP vaccine actually weren’t. From multiple lawsuits in England that found the DTP vaccine did not cause seizures or brain damage to the discovery of Dravet syndrome, the whole cell pertussis vaccine likely could be safely reintroduced.

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