First Dose of Pertussis Vaccine and Treating Pertussis with Antibiotics Saves Lives During Pertussis Outbreak
Infants are at the highest risk of death from pertussis (whooping cough). The study, “First Pertussis Vaccine Dose and Prevention of Infant Mortality,” published in Pediatrics May 2015 (you can read it here… ) analyzed all fatal and non-fatal infant pertussis cases for the 17 years from 1991-2008. There were 258 deaths out of the 45,404 cases of pertussis. That averages out to 15 infant deaths a year out of the average 2670 cases of pertussis each year.
The goal of our vaccine program is to reduce mortality and suffering, while hopefully minimizing the harm and side-effects from the vaccines themselves. Given that we know the pertussis vaccine contains aluminum, a known neurotoxin, one must thus balance the risks and benefits.
This study adds important information on how protective the vaccine was those 17 years for infants who were the most vulnerable.
For infants at least 42 days old (old enough to get the vaccine), 1 doses of vaccine protected against death by an odds ratio of 0.28, meaning your risk was almost 1/4 that of the non-vaccinated infants. Vaccinated infants were also less likely to be hospitalized or develop pneumonia.
A previous Pediatrics study (which you can read here… ) showed the technique of cocooning (where caregivers and family members get the pertussis vaccine) reduced infant pertussis deaths by 50%.
If we reduce the 15 infant deaths a year by almost 75% as shown by giving the first dose of Dtap by about 6-8 weeks of age, we can reduce the risk of pertussis deaths in the USA from 15 deaths a year to about 4 a year. By vaccinating all the caregivers and family members, we could further cut this risk of death in half, reducing infant deaths from pertussis to about 4 a year or about 1 in every million births.
Parents must decide if injecting the Tdap during pregnancy (now recommended by CDC and ACOG) to potentially reduce the number of infant deaths further from 1 in a million to some number less than that, is worth it. You would be guaranteed to poison the unborn child with a huge toxic dose of aluminum with unknown risks since this vaccine has never been tested in pregnant women to look for possible side effects to brain development and function in later years.
My vote on how best to minimize your infant’s risk of pertussis, while also minimizing toxic risks from the aluminum in that vaccine, is to refuse the Tdap while pregnant, and get that vaccine right before you get pregnant and or right after the baby is born. I would then recommend all family members and caregivers get the vaccine before the birth of your baby, and then vaccinate the baby starting at 6-8 weeks of age with the DTaP, but don’t give the other aluminum containing vaccines at the same time as the DTaP. I would skip the Hepatitis B vaccines for infants whose mothers do not have Hepatitis B, and give the Prevnar 2-4 weeks after the DTaP as the Prevnar also has aluminum.