Pertussis / Whooping cough ‘booster’

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Repeated so-called ‘boosters’ with the apparently defective acellular pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine may actually be causing new strains of the disease to develop[1], and spreading the disease via vaccinated individuals[2].

In March 2012, The Conversation website reported on a new strain of whooping cough that appears to be resistant to vaccination:

A team led by scientists at The University of New South Wales believes the emerging strain of the Bordetella pertussis bacterium may be evading the effects of the widely-prescribed acellular vaccine (ACV) and increasing the incidence of the potentially fatal respiratory illness, according to a study published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases”.

Professor Lyn Gilbert, a Professor in Medicine and Infectious Diseases at the University of Sydney, said there was a range of ways scientists might tackle the new strain of whooping cough, including administering “more boosters of the current vaccine”.

The question is, how does increasing the numbers of ‘boosters’ of the current vaccine protect against the new strain?  Is this what passes for the ‘science of immunisation’?

See my emails on this subject forwarded to Professor Gilbert and Professor Ruiting Lan (December 2012).  (I received no response, which is typical of the lack of accountability for vaccination policy and practice in Australia.)

Children are now having five vaccinations with the combination diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis vaccine, i.e. primary vaccination at 2 months, 4 months and 6 months, then so-called ‘boosters’ at 4 years, and between 10-15 years[3], plus the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) has ‘recommended’ another ‘booster’ at 18 months[4] [5], so this makes six vaccinations with the diphtheria, tetanus and acellular vaccine for children which will be compulsory with the No Jab, No Pay law

And it doesn’t stop there as, in an attempt to protect newborns from whooping cough, (which may cause death in babies in rare cases[6] [7]), pregnant women, household contacts of infants, and healthcare workers are also being urged to be revaccinated again and again with the diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis vaccine, in other words lifelong revaccination.[8] 

What is the point of imposing more and more so-called ‘boosters’ with an apparently defective vaccine which may actually be causing new strains of the disease to develop[9], and spreading the disease via vaccinated individuals[10]

What sort of ‘science’ is this? 

The so-called ‘vaccination experts’ seem to be making this up as they go along, and using the population as guinea pigs. 

Certainly these repeated revaccinations must be a very lucrative profit centre for vaccine manufacturers, can we look forward to this occurring with other vaccine products too? 

The problems with the acellular pertussis vaccine raise important questions about “what is immunity?”, “what is a vaccine preventable disease?”, and “what level of disease risk justifies mass vaccination?” 

(It is also interesting to consider if the recently published research which indicates some vaccines might support the evolution of more virulent viruses[11] may also have implications for non-viral vaccines such as pertussis.)

References:

[1] In March 2012, The Conversation reported on a new strain of whooping cough that appears to be resistant to vaccination i.e. “A team led by scientists at The University of New South Wales believes the emerging strain of the Bordetella pertussis bacterium may be evading the effects of the widely-prescribed acellular vaccine (ACV) and increasing the incidence of the potentially fatal respiratory illness, according to a study published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases”.  See Vaccine-resistant whooping cough takes epidemic to new level: https://theconversation.com/vaccine-resistant-whooping-cough-takes-epidemic-to-new-level-5959  In The Conversation article, Lyn Gilbert, a Professor in Medicine and Infectious Diseases at the University of Sydney, said there was a range of ways scientists might tackle the new strain of whooping cough, including administering “more boosters of the current vaccine”.  The question is, how does increasing the numbers of ‘boosters’ of the current vaccine protect against the new strain?  Also see my email enquiries on this matter to Lyn Gilbert and Ruiting lan in December 2012: http://users.on.net/~peter.hart/Whooping_cough_enquiry.pdf  which did not receive a response.  Also see Octavia, S. et al. Newly Emerging Clones of Bordetella pertussis Carrying prn2 and ptxP3 Alleles Implicated in Australian Pertussis Epidemic in 2008-2010. JID 2012:205 (15 April). Brief Report: http://jid.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2012/03/14/infdis.jis178.full.pdf+html  and Sharp rise in cases of new strain of whooping cough. UNSW Australia Newsroom, 21 March 2012: https://newsroom.unsw.edu.au/news/health/sharp-rise-cases-new-strain-whooping-cough

[2] See for example FDA study helps provide an understanding of rising rates of whooping cough and response to vaccination. FDA News Release, 27 November 2013: http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm376937.htm  and Jason M Warfel et al. Acellular pertussis vaccines protect against disease but fail to prevent infection and transmission in a nonhuman primate model. PNAS, 22 October 2013: http://www.pnas.org/content/111/2/787.full.pdf

[3] Refer to the National Immunisation Program Schedule (From 20 April 2015): http://www.immunise.health.gov.au/internet/immunise/publishing.nsf/Content/national-immunisation-program-schedule

[4] At its meeting in November 2014, the PBAC recommended including an 18 month ‘booster’ dose of GSK Infanrix combination diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis vaccine on the National Immunisation Program Schedule. November 2014 – Positive Recommendations. Recommendations made by the PBAC November 2014: http://www.pbs.gov.au/info/industry/listing/elements/pbac-meetings/pbac-outcomes/2014-11

[5] The Sanofi-aventis TRIPACEL vaccine was approved for the NIP by the PBAC in 2015. July 2015 – Positive Recommendations.  Recommendations made by the PBAC July 2015: http://www.pbs.gov.au/info/industry/listing/elements/pbac-meetings/pbac-outcomes/pbac-outcomes-2015-07

[6] Peter McIntyre states: “…although any death from pertussis is tragic, there are, on average, less than three identified each year and even factoring in hospitalisations from pertussis would not add up to many QALYs to gain (compared to, say, drugs to prevent heart attacks in adults” in Does whooping cough vaccine for parents protect newborns (and who should pay for it)? The Conversation, 15 May 2012: https://theconversation.com/does-whooping-cough-vaccine-for-parents-protect-newborns-and-who-should-pay-for-it-6980

[7] The Murdoch Media’s extraordinarily crude ‘No Jab, No Play’ campaign appears to have been driven by the death of baby Dana McCaffrey, who is reported to have died due to the effects of pertussis/whooping cough in 2009, and whose death appears to be blamed on those who do not vaccinate against pertussis/whooping cough, see for example We never got the chance to protect our little girl, The Daily Telegraph, 6 May 2013.  The death of baby Riley Hughes in March 2015 has similarly been blamed on “parents who refuse to vaccinate their children”, see Grieving dad’s message for anti-immunisation parents after whooping cough death, news.com, 19 March 2015. While the deaths of Dana McCaffrey and Riley Hughes are tragedies for their families, it is unclear how revaccinating the population over and over again with the defective acellular pertussis vaccine helps this matter. 

[8] See 4.12 Pertussis – 4.12.7 Recommendations in The Australian Immunisation Handbook, updated 20 April 2015: http://www.immunise.health.gov.au/internet/immunise/publishing.nsf/Content/Handbook10-home~handbook10part4~handbook10-4-12   Also see Peter Bruce McIntyre. Does whooping cough vaccine for parents protect newborns (and who should pay for it)? The Conversation, 15 May 2014: https://theconversation.com/does-whooping-cough-vaccine-for-parents-protect-newborns-and-who-should-pay-for-it-6980

[9] In March 2012, The Conversation reported on a new strain of whooping cough that appears to be resistant to vaccination i.e. “A team led by scientists at The University of New South Wales believes the emerging strain of the Bordetella pertussis bacterium may be evading the effects of the widely-prescribed acellular vaccine (ACV) and increasing the incidence of the potentially fatal respiratory illness, according to a study published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases”.  See Vaccine-resistant whooping cough takes epidemic to new level: https://theconversation.com/vaccine-resistant-whooping-cough-takes-epidemic-to-new-level-5959  In The Conversation article, Lyn Gilbert, a Professor in Medicine and Infectious Diseases at the University of Sydney, said there was a range of ways scientists might tackle the new strain of whooping cough, including administering “more boosters of the current vaccine”.  The question is, how does increasing the numbers of ‘boosters’ of the current vaccine protect against the new strain?  Also see my email enquiries on this matter to Lyn Gilbert and Ruiting lan in December 2012: http://users.on.net/~peter.hart/Whooping_cough_enquiry.pdf  which did not receive a response.  Also see Octavia, S. et al. Newly Emerging Clones of Bordetella pertussis Carrying prn2 and ptxP3 Alleles Implicated in Australian Pertussis Epidemic in 2008-2010. JID 2012:205 (15 April). Brief Report: http://jid.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2012/03/14/infdis.jis178.full.pdf+html  and Sharp rise in cases of new strain of whooping cough. UNSW Australia Newsroom, 21 March 2012: https://newsroom.unsw.edu.au/news/health/sharp-rise-cases-new-strain-whooping-cough  Also see Safarchi A et al. Pertactin negative Bordetella pertussis demonstrates higher fitness under vaccine selection pressure in a mixed infection model. Vaccine. 2015 Oct 2. pii: S0264-410X(15)01340-7 (Epub ahead of print): http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26432908 and Anna M Acosta et al. Tdap Vaccine Effectiveness in Adolescents During the 2012 Washington State Pertussis Epidemic. Pediatrics April 2015: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2015/04/28/peds.2014-3358?variant=abstract&sso=1&sso_redirect_count=1&nfstatus=401&nftoken=00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000&nfstatusdescription=ERROR%3a+No+local+token and Bart MJ et al. Global population structure and evolution of Bordetella pertussis and their relationship with vaccination. MBio. 2014 Apr 22;5(2): http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24757216 and Octavia S et al. Insight into evolution of Bordetella pertussis from comparative genomic analysis: evidence of vaccine-driven selection. Mol Biol Evol. 2011 Jan;28(1):707-15. Epub 2010 Sep 10: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20833694 and Lam C et al. Selection of emergence of pertussis toxin promoter ptxP3 allele in the evolution of Bordetella pertussis. Infect Genet Evol. 2012 Mar;12(2):492-5. Epub 2012 Jan 24: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22293463

[10] See for example FDA study helps provide an understanding of rising rates of whooping cough and response to vaccination. FDA News Release, 27 November 2013: http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm376937.htm and Jason M Warfel et al. Acellular pertussis vaccines protect against disease but fail to prevent infection and transmission in a nonhuman primate model. PNAS, 22 October 2013: http://www.pnas.org/content/111/2/787.full.pdf  Also see Martin SW et al Pertactin-negative Bordetella pertussis strains: evidence for a possible selective advantage. Clin Infect Dis. 2015 Jan 15;60(2):2223-7. Epub 2014 Oct 9: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25301209 and Stacey W Martin et al. Pertactin-Negative Bordetella pertussis Strains: Evidence for a Possible Selective Advantage. Clin Infect Dis. (2015) 60 (2): 223-227. First published online: October 9, 2014: http://cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/60/2/223.long

[11] See Some Vaccines Support Evolution of More-Virulent Viruses. PennState Science, 27 July 2015: http://science.psu.edu/news-and-events/2015-news/Read7-2015  and Leaky vaccine promote the transmission of more virulent virus. Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics. Penn State: http://www.cidd.psu.edu/research/synopses/leaky-vaccines-promote-the-transmission-of-more-virulent-virus   The study referred to in this articles is: Andrew F. Read et al. Imperfect Vaccination Can Enhance the Transmission of Highly Virulent Pathogens. PLOS Biology, July 27 2015: http://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.1002198

 

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