The resurgence of pertussis in some countries that maintain high vaccination coverage has drawn attention to gaps in our understanding of the epidemiological effects of pertussis vaccines. In particular, major questions surround the nature, degree and durability of vaccine protection. To address these questions, we used mechanistic transmission models to examine regional time series incidence data from Italy in the period immediately following the introduction of acellular pertussis (aP) vaccine. Our results concur with recent animal-challenge experiments wherein infections in aP-vaccinated individuals proved as transmissible as those in naive individuals but much less symptomatic. On the other hand, the data provide evidence for vaccine-driven reduction in susceptibility, which we quantify via a synthetic measure of vaccine impact. As to the precise nature of vaccine failure, the data do not allow us to distinguish between leakiness and waning of vaccine immunity, or some combination of these. Across the range of well-supported models, the nature and duration of vaccine protection, the age profile of incidence and the range of projected epidemiological futures differ substantially, underscoring the importance of the remaining unknowns. We identify key data gaps: sources of data that can supply the information needed to eliminate these remaining uncertainties.
Authors:Magpantay FM1, Domenech DE Cellès M1, Rohani P1, King AA1.