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Whooping cough vaccination


Whooping cough vaccination is administered in the course of a combination vaccination (6-fold) including diphterie, tetanus, polio, hepatitis B, Hib) , used to be a three-fold vaccination (diphterie-pertussis-tetanus). These are non-live whooping cough bacteria, the new vaccines contain parts of these bacteria, also referred to as acellular vaccine. According to the vaccine, the following is added:  aluminiumhydroxid, thimerosal, phenoxyethanol.

The acellular vaccine is tolerated better and leads to adverse effects less often and that is why it is used nowadays.


The vaccination does not offer 100% protection, due to the fact that vaccinated children can also contract whooping cough. The whooping cough vaccination is recommended for very young babies as it is said that this vaccination prevents deaths in babies. But it is a fact that most deaths from whooping cough occur during the first 6 months. But only after the age of 6 months can one expect a sufficient immune response after application of the vaccines. But a more mild course of the disease can be expected after the second vaccine dose.  (Impfen, Routine oder Individualisation, Arbeitsgruppe für differenzierte Impfungen2 Aufl. März 2000, S. 20)

The immunity created by the vaccination is much less than immunity that is acquired naturally. The body does not create sufficient antibodies on the mucous membrane as a result of the mucuous membrane being circumvented (IgA).

Vaccine protection does not last long. 52% of the immunized children fall ill in the second year of their life, in the third year even 76%.  (Impfen, Routine oder Individualisation, Arbeitsgruppe für differenzierte Impfungen2 Aufl. März 2000, S. 20) But the course of the disease is milder and there are fewer adverse effects.

As a result of the vaccination there is a shift of the disease into adulthood. Before the introduction of the vaccine only 2% of those who feel ill were adults, now, according to a new study by Heininger from 2000, it is already 50%.  (Heininger U.: Pertussis. Erlanger Expertentagung zur Pertussisimpfung Impftelegramm Pasteur Merieux 2000,1) Of course this results in the fact that the vaccination is recommended for adults and that it must be boostered throughout one’s life.

The circulation of the pathogen among the population cannot be stopped by the vaccination. Especially in countries where the vaccination rate is high, adults and non-vaccinated babies or children are an important reservoir for the pathogen for whooping cough bacteria.(Hoppe: Keuchhusten ist bei Erwachsenen keineswegs selten, jedoch oft verkannt. Pädiatrische Praxis 1999, 56: 291-295)

As a result of the rising number of people contracting the disease in children, adolescents and adults there is a tendency (since 2006) to apply booster shots for whooping cough for the ages 5-6 years.

Adverse effects, vaccination complications and vaccination damages of the whooping cough vaccination

Aside from local reactions (), fever, listlessness and nausea there can be grave vaccination reactions, including hydrocephalus, spastic paralysis, meningitis and high-grade intelligence defects as well as epilepsia. It has been researched that 80% of all sudden infant death syndromes occurred within 7 days of a whooping cough vaccination (Torch, W.C., 1982; Miller, C.L. und Fletcher, N.B. 1976, Br MedJ 17 Jan.117-119)

Local reactions

Local reactions such as pain, reddening and swelling at the injection site occur very frequently after the vaccination. The frequency rises with the number of vaccinations administered. Fever is observed quite frequently, too.


When the vaccine used to be administered, 1 in 4000 people who had been vaccinated had fever cramps; with the new acellular vaccine 1 in 16000 vaccination doses entail a seizure.

Neurological complications:

Cri encéphalique

Cri encephalique entails high-pitched screaming that lasts for a long time which means that its origin has to do with the central nervous system. At worst the screaming can lst for hours or even days. In a trial conducted by  Überall, Cherry et al, cri encephalique occurred in 1 in 113 vaccination doses in DPT and in 1 in 497 with DTaP (with acellular pertussis component).  (Uberall MA, Stehr K, Cherry JD, Heininger U, Schmitt-Grohe S, Laussucq S, Eckhardt T.Severe adverse events in a comparative efficacy trial in Germany in infants receiving either the Lederle/Takeda acellular pertussis component DTP (DTaP) vaccine, the Lederle whole-cell component DTP (DTP) or DT vaccine. The Pertussis Vaccine Study Group.Dev Biol Stand 1997;89:83-9)


A further neurological complication after whooping cough vaccination is HHE -hypotone-hyporesponsive episodes). This is a clouding of consciousness accompanied by muscular weakness and non-responsiveness of the person concerned, which indicates that it is a reaction of the central nervous system. There have been no trials that investigate longterm effects. HHE does not occur as frequently after acellular vaccinations, but it does continue to occur. (DuVernoy TS, Braun MM.Hypotonic-hyporesponsive episodes reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), 1996-1998.Pediatrics 2000 Oct;106(4):E52)


Whooping cough vaccination was associated with the onset of Type I diabetes. Classen, an American vaccination expert, performed a number of investigations and trials which lead to this conclusion (Classen JB, Classen DC.:Vaccines and the risk of insulin-dependent diabetes (IDDM): potential mechanism of action.Med Hypotheses 2001 Nov;57(5):532-8)

There are a number of trials which indicate that DTP vaccination can lead to an increase of asthma cases.(Hurwitz EL, Morgenstern H.:Effects of diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis or tetanus vaccination on allergies and allergy-related respiratory symptoms among children and adolescents in the United States.J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2000 Feb;23(2):81-90./Odent MR, Culpin EE, Kimmel T.:Pertussis vaccination and Asthma: is there a link?JAMA 1994 Aug 24-31;272(8):592-3)
Whether the vaccination with the acellular vaccine reduces the risk is not known yet. Which vaccine components are lastly responsible for the increase in cases of asthma cannot be stated with certainty.
Reported cases:
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