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November 14, 1990

Decade May Be More Than Half Over Before Acellular Pertussis Vaccines Arrive on Scene

JAMA. 1990;264(18):2365-2369. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03450180019003

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IN SPITE of evidence that they are less reactogenic and confer long-standing immunity, the acellular pertussis vaccines are still a long way from reaching the American pediatrician.

At least one speaker from the Sixth International Symposium on Pertussis (held at the National Institutes of Health [NIH], Bethesda, Md), Roger Bernier, MD, of the Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, Ga, says it is unlikely that an acellular vaccine will be available before the mid-1990s.

Bernier's point is that there has been no direct comparison between the acellular and whole-cell vaccines. Hence, he says, another trial is needed to ascertain the relative efficacy and safety of the acellular vaccines.

This prediction was not seriously challenged. "I think it's going to be 4 or 5 years before we get there, although I hope it's sooner," comments John R. LaMontagne, MD, of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the NIH.