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CHILDHOOD immunization against diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis using an acellular pertussis vaccine for the first three doses has moved measurably closer. Data from two large field trials, one in Italy and one in Sweden, have now been analyzed, and they show clear evidence of efficacy and fewer side effects compared with the control group that received whole-cell pertussis vaccine.
See also p 450.
Three of the four vaccines used in the trials showed 84% to 85% efficacy. The fourth was only 58% effective. The randomized, double-blind trials began in 1992 and involved more than 25000 children.
The Swedish Trial
In the Swedish trial, 9630 infants were vaccinated at age 2, 4, and 6 months with one of two types of acellular pertussis vaccine combined with diphtheria and tetanus toxoids, or with diphtheria and tetanus toxoids combined with a whole-cell pertussis vaccine, or with diphtheria-tetanus alone. Efficacy data were obtained and analyzed when the
Marwick C. Acellular Pertussis Vaccine Hailed for Infants. JAMA. 1995;274(6):446-447. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03530060018007