The pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine in the DPT shot is failing to
This alarming conclusion follows hard on the heels of fresh evidence from the US that shows the vaccine can cause long-term brain damage to children.
The discovery of the ineffectiveness of the vaccine was made in Cincinnati, Ohio during a nationwide epidemic last year.
Researchers from a Cincinnati children's hospital found that the
epidemic was mainly occurring among children who had completed the full course of DPT vaccines (New England Journal of Medicine, 7 July 1994).
As many of the children who contracted the disease were aged between 19 months and 6 years, scientists are concerned that the whole-cell pertussis vaccine does not offer long-term protection.
The nationwide epidemic in the States last year resulted in 6,335 cases of whooping cough being reported, the most in 26 years. Of those, 352 cases were reported in Cincinnati, Ohio, a two-and-a-half times increase. About 30 per cent of the children had hospital stays, although the epidemic did not claim any lives in the city.
Of those affected, 74 per cent had been given four or five doses of the DPT vaccine, and 82 per cent had received up to three doses, considered adequate to provide full protection.
The discovery follows on from a decision by the Institute of Medicine in the US to endorse English research that the DPT vaccine can leave a child with permanent brain damage. Effects can include chronic nervous system dysfunction, learning problems and encephalitis.
The Institute had accepted that the vaccine could cause acute reactions, but felt the data was insufficient to prove long-term effects. They accepted the findings, however, of a 10-year study by the National Childhood Encephalopathy Study, based at the Imperial College, London, which showed a link.