Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Efficacy of pertussis vaccination in England. Report from the PHLS Epidemiological Research Laboratory and 21 area health authorities.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1982; 285 doi: (Published 31 July 1982) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1982;285:357


A national assessment of the efficacy of pertussis vaccination was made in 21 area health authorities in England. Notification rates for children given either three doses of diphtheria/tetanus/pertussis vaccine or diphtheria/tetanus vaccine were studied during the two and a half-year period January 1978-June 1980. A survey of home circumstances showed that the two vaccine groups could be validly compared. Home visits were made to assess the severity of the illness, the attack rates in home contacts, and to take pernasal swabs. Pertussis vaccination was found to be of outstanding value in preventing serious disease. Nevertheless, its effect in controlling whooping cough is limited by the fact that protection for home contacts is less satisfactory, and by the occurrence of mild cases in vaccinated children which may contribute to the spread of the disease.