During a pertussis epidemic in 2011-2012 the Western Australian (WA) Department of Health implemented a ‘cocooning’ programme, offering free pertussis-containing vaccine (dTpa) to new parents. We assessed the impact of vaccinating parents with dTpa on the incidence of pertussis infection in newborns. Births in WA during 2011-2012 were linked to a register of parental pertussis vaccinations and to notified reports of laboratory-proven pertussis in children 28 days after the birth, the vaccination date was uncertain, or the child died at birth (n=42), the final cohort contained 53,149 children, 118 of whom developed pertussis. There was no difference in the incidence of pertussis among infants whose parents were both vaccinated postpartum compared to those with unvaccinated parents (1.9 vs 2.2 infections per 1000 infants; adjusted HR 0.91; 95%CI 0.55-1.53). Similarly, when assessed independently, maternal postpartum vaccination was not protective (adjusted HR 1.19; 95%CI 0.82-1.72). Supplemental sensitivity analyses which varied the time period for parental vaccination and accounted for under-reporting of vaccination status did not significantly alter these findings. In our setting, vaccinating parents with dTpa during the four weeks following delivery did not reduce pertussis diagnoses in infants. WA now provides dTpa vaccine to pregnant women during the third trimester.
Authors:Carcione D1, Regan AK2, Tracey L3, Mak DB4, Gibbs R3, Dowse GK3, Bulsara M5, Effler PV2.