Tag: DTP

What Happened When Sweden Stop Using the DPT Vaccine?

Do you ever wonder what would happen if we stopped vaccinating our kids?

You don’t have to wonder.

What Happened When Sweden Stop Using the DPT Vaccine?

It’s been done…

Remember when Sweden stopped using the DPT vaccine?

Endemic pertussis returned when they stopped using the DPT vaccine in Sweden.
Endemic pertussis returned when they stopped using the DPT vaccine in Sweden.

Between 1979 and 1996, Sweden suspended vaccination against pertussis because of concerns about the DPT vaccine.

Justus Ström's data was wrong...
Justus Ström‘s data was wrong…

And what happened?

“In 1979, the Swedish medical society abandoned whole-cell pertussis vaccine and decided to wait for a new, safer, more effective vaccine – a strategy that was soon adopted as national policy. During 1980-83, annual incidence for children aged 0–4 years increased to 3370 per 100000, with rates of serious complications approaching global rates. In subsequent years, Sweden reported more than 10000 cases annually with an incidence exceeding 100 per 100000, comparable to rates reported in some developing countries.”

Ganarosa et al on Impact of anti-vaccine movements on pertussis control: the untold story.

Pertussis came back.

In fact, endemic pertussis came back.

“Our evaluation of pertussis in the unimmunized child population gave an answer to the question of whether pertussis nowadays is a harmless disease which does not demand general vaccination. The present situation regarding pertussis in Sweden and the low efficacy of the antimicrobial treatment indicate an urgent need to prevent the disease by general vaccination as soon as a safe and effective vaccine is available.”

Romanus et al on Pertussis in Sweden after the cessation of general immunization in 1979.

Of course, they already had a safe and effective vaccine at the time.

All of the claims against the whole cell pertussis vaccine ended up being untrue.

The incidence of SIDS didn't drop when they stopped using the DPT vaccine in Sweden.
The incidence of SIDS didn’t drop when they stopped using the DPT vaccine in Sweden.

Not surprisingly, even though they weren’t using the DPT vaccine, rates of SIDS didn’t drop until they implemented the back to sleep recommendations.

If vaccines are associated with SIDS, shouldn’t the incidence of SIDS have decreased when they stopped giving infants the DPT vaccine?

More on What Happens If We Stop Vaccinating

DTP Vaccines

Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis were among the first vaccines that were developed:

  • diphtheria vaccine – 1888
  • first tetanus vaccine – 1914
  • first pertussis vaccine – 1915

It wasn’t until 1949 that they were improved and combined into the DTP vaccine though.

DTP vaccines protects against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis.
DTP vaccines protects against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis.

A separate Td vaccine was licensed for adults in 1953.

Today, all children get their first dose of the latest DTaP vaccines when they are two months old, completely a three dose primary series by the time they are six months old.

Children get booster doses of DTaP when they are 15 to 18 months old and again at age four to six years.

Remember, we switched to using DTaP in 1997.

A Tdap booster is given at age 11 to 12 years, to adults who have never had it, and with each and every pregnancy.

More on DTP Vaccines

Heather Whitestone and Vaccines

Heather Whitestone is well known for being the first deaf Miss America, winning the Miss America pageant in 1994.

The New York Times did a report about the First Deaf Miss America, saying a reaction to a DPT shot - she didn't.
The New York Times did a report about the First Deaf Miss America, saying a reaction to a DPT shot – she didn’t.

What is little known about Heather Whitestone, now Heather Leigh Whitestone McCallum, is that her mother once blamed the DTP vaccine as having caused her deafness.

The true story is that her deafness resulted not from the DTP vaccine, but from an antibiotic (gentamycin) that was given to treat a Hib infection, a now vaccine-preventable disease.

Not surprisingly, the true story, that her deafness wasn’t caused by a vaccine injury, didn’t get nearly as much media coverage.

More on Heather Whitestone

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.

More on Acellular Pertussis Vaccines