An epidemic of Bordetella pertussis in Victoria, Australia, led to the implementation of a Government-funded vaccination program for parents of new babies. The rationale was to protect unimmunised infants from infection by vaccinating parents with a pertussis-containing vaccine. This is known as cocooning.
To estimate uptake of the vaccine among parents of new babies, two-and-a-half years after the program was implemented.
A state-wide cross-sectional survey of parents was conducted to ascertain vaccine uptake, and to identify where and when the vaccination took place. Surveys were administered between 15 February and 14 March 2012, inclusive.
Of 6308 surveys distributed, 2510 completed surveys were returned (response rate 40%). Ninety-five surveys completed outside the study period were excluded, leaving 2415 available for analysis. Overall, 1937 (80%) mothers and 1385 (70%) fathers were vaccinated in relation to the birth of their most recent child. A majority of mothers were vaccinated in hospital (62%). Most fathers were vaccinated by a general practitioner (72%). The most common point at which mothers were vaccinated was before their child turned two weeks of age (65%). Fathers’ vaccination time-point varied more widely: during pregnancy (25%); before their child turned two weeks of age (29%); and when their child was between two and eight weeks of age (28%).
Results of this survey indicated excellent uptake of the vaccine among both mothers and fathers under the Government-funded cocooning program. The findings are suggestive of an effective communications program designed to raise awareness of the risks of pertussis, and to promote availability of the funded vaccination program. The results may contribute to policy implementation of adult immunisation programs such as cocooning.