Published May 19, 2016
There is increasing pressure to force vaccinations on children, and increasing marketing of vaccines for adults, including pneumonia and shingles....
— William Wilberforce
The following is the second half of a two-part article on pertussis. Click here to read the first half of the article.
When there are a lot of people with silent asymptomatic pertussis infections, it is impossible to know who is a carrier and who is not, which means that reported cases of pertussis are just the tip of a very big iceberg. It also means that articles blaming whooping cough cases on unvaccinated or partially vaccinated children are nothing more than wishful thinking and scapegoating.1
Bottom Line: Both natural and vaccine acquired immunity is temporary2 and while vaccination may prevent clinical symptoms, it does not block infection, carriage or transmission. If vaccinated people can get silently infected and transmit infection without showing any symptoms—even after getting four to six pertussis shots—then pertussis vaccine acquired “herd immunity” is an illusion and always has been.
So the big question is: Why has more than a half-century of pertussis vaccination failed to produce true herd immunity like public health officials insist it theoretically can if only more and more pertussis shots are given to more people more of the time?3 4
The answer is simple and the emerging scientific evidence is compelling: the B. pertussis microbe has evolved over the past 65 years to evade whole cell and acellular pertussis vaccines, which drug companies have marketed and medical doctors have aggressively promoted in a crusade to kill a species of bacteria they still know very little about.5 6 A review of the medical literature reveals that the experts are unhappy with how much they still don’t know about the B. pertussis microbe7 and are arguing with each other about if, when, how and why pertussis vaccines have consistently failed to do the job of achieving herd immunity to prevent B. pertussis whooping cough from circulating in highly vaccinated populations around the world.8 9 10
The inconvenient set of scientific facts they have to work with are these:
Eighteen years ago, in 1998, molecular biologists and other basic science researchers began warning that the B. pertussis microbe started to evolve to evade whole cell pertussis vaccine after DPT shots were given on a mass basis to children in the 1950’s.44 45 46 47 For the past two decades, these bench scientists have been publishing hard evidence that over the past 65 years, B. pertussis bacteria have efficiently adapted to both whole cell and acellular pertussis vaccines.48 49 50
In a fight to survive, the B. pertussis microbe has created new strains that produce more pertussis toxin to suppress the human immune system and cause more serious disease. Today, the pertussis strains included in the vaccine no longer match the pertussis strains causing whooping cough disease.51 52 53 54 55
Bottom line: There is compelling scientific evidence that B. pertussis bacteria have evolved to survive vaccine pressure. Now, there are more virulent pertussis strains that are more efficiently transmitted by vaccinated children and adults with waning immunity.
As one research scientist commented in 2009, “An important question is whether other childhood vaccines also select for pathogens that are more efficiently transmitted by primed hosts, resulting in increased virulence.”56
The crusade by public health officials to kill the B. pertussis microbe by adding more and more doses of ineffective vaccines to the child and adult schedule—now even invading the once sacred place of the womb and insisting all pregnant women be vaccinated57 58—is a cautionary tale. As we witness a bacterial species efficiently adapting in an effort to survive a war that has been declared on it, what has become painfully clear is that the history of mass vaccination has not been driven by hard science transparently shared with the people.59 60 It has been driven by the politics of a public health profession working a lucrative government-industry public private partnership to protect failed vaccine policies, while ignoring the hard science.61 62
We, the people, are not going to pretend the science doesn’t exist. It is up to each one of us to inform public health officials and legislators that it is their responsibility to show us the science and give us a choice when it comes to vaccines, especially when no vaccine manufacturer, no public health official and no doctor is liable in a civil court of law when vaccine reactions and failures lead to injury and death.63
1 Phadke VK, Bednarczyk RA, Salmon DA, Omer SB. Association Between Vaccine Refusal and Vaccine-Preventable Disease in the United States: A Review of Measles and Pertussis. JAMA 2016; 315(11): 1149-1158.
2 Wendelboe AM, Van Rie A et al.Duration of immunity against pertussis after natural infection or vaccination. Pediatr Infect Dis J 2005; 24(Suppl 5): S58-S61.
3 Wei SC, Tetti K, Cushing K et al. Effectiveness of Adolescent and Adult Tetanus Reduced-Dose Diphtheria and Acellular Pertussis Vaccine against Pertussis . Clin Infect Dis 2010; 51(3): 315-321.
4 Gabutti G, Azzari C, Bonanni P et al.Pertussis: Current perspectives on epidemiology and prevention. Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics 2015; 11(1): 108-117.
5 Coote JG. Environmental sensing mechanisms in Bordetella. Adv Microb Physiol 2001; 44: 141-181.
6 Melvin JA, Scheller EV et al. Bordetella pertussis pathogenesis: current and future challenges . Nature Reviews Microbiology 2014; 12: 274-288.
7 Hewlett EK, Burns DL Cotter PA et al.Pertussis Pathogenesis – What We Know and What We Don’t Know. J Infect Dis 2014; 209: 982-985.
8 Robbins JB, Schneerson R, Kubler-Kielb J et al. Toward a new vaccine for pertussis. PNAS 2014; 111(9): 3213-3216.
9 Riolo MA, Rohani.Combating pertussis resurgence: One booster vaccination schedule does not fit all. Proc Nat Acad Sci 2015; 112(5): E472-477.
10 De Celles MD, Magpantay FMG et al.The pertussis enigma: reconciling epidemiology, immunology and evolution. Proc R Soc B 2016; 283.
11 Preston NW, Stanbridge TN. Efficacy of Pertussis Vaccines: A Brighter Horizon. Brit Med J 1972; 3:448-451.
12 Broome CV, Preblud SR, Bruner B et al. Epidemiology of pertussis, Atlanta, 1977. J Pediatr 1981; 98(3): 362-267.
13 Fine PE, Clarkson JA. Reflections on the efficacy of pertussis vaccines. Rev Infect Dis 1987; 9(5): 866-883.
14 Greco D, Salmaso S, Mastrantonio P et al. A Controlled Trial of Two Acellular Vaccines and One Whole-Cell Vaccine Against Pertussis . N Engl J Med 1996; 334(6): 341-348.
15 Schmitt HJ, Schuind A, Knuf M et al. Acellullar Pertussis Vaccines: The Rationale for an Efficacy Trial in Germany . J Infect Dis 1996; 174(Suppl 3): S287-S290.
16 Trollfors B. Bordetella pertussis whole cell vaccines – efficacy and toxicity . Acta paediatrica Scandinavia 1984; 73(4): 417-425.
17 CDC. Pertussis (Whooping Cough) Cases by Year (1922-2014). Sept. 8, 2015.
18 Fine PEM, Clarkson JA. The Recurrence of Whooping Cough: Possible Implications for Assessment of Vaccine Efficacy . The Lancet 1982; 1(8273): 666-669.
19 Marchant CD, Loughlin AM, Lett SM et al. Pertussis in Massachusetts, 1981-1991: incidence, serologic diagnosis, and vaccine effectiveness . J Infect Dis 1994; 169(6): 1297-1305.
20 Tanaka M, Vitek CR, Pascual B et al.Trends in Pertussis Among Infants in the United States, 1980-1999. JAMA 2003; 290)22): 2968-2975.
21 Nelson JD. The changing epidemiology of pertussis in young infants. The role of adults as reservoirs of infection . Am J Dis Child 1978 132(4): 371-373.
22 Yih WK, Lett SM, desVignes FN et al. The increasing incidence of pertussis in Massachusetts adolescents and adults 1989-1998 . J Infect Dis 2000; 182(5): 1409-1416.
23 Christie CDC, Marx ML, Colin D et al. The 1993 Epidemic of Pertussis in Cincinnati. N Engl J Med 1994; 331: 16-21.
24 DeSerres G, Boulianne N et al. Pertussis in Quebec: ongoing epidemic since the late 1980’s . Can Commun Dis Rep 1995; 21(5): 45-48.
25 CDC. Pertussis Outbreak – Vermont, 1996. MMWR Sept. 5, 1997; 46(35): 822-826.
26 Jenkinson D. Duration of effectiveness of pertussis vaccine: evidence form a 10 year community study . Brit Med J 1988; 296: 612-614.
27 Bouchez B, Guiso N.Bordetella pertussis, B. parapertussis, vaccines and cycles of whooping cough. FEMS Pathogens and Disease Aug. 4, 2015 (online).
28 Barkin RM, Pichichero ME. Diphtheria-Pertussis-Tetanus Vaccine: Reactogenicity of Commercial Products. Pediatrics 1979; 63(2).
29 Cody CL, Baraff LJ, Cherry JD et al. Nature and Rates of Adverse Reactions Associated with DTP and DT Immunizations in Infants and Children . Pediatrics 1981; 68(5).
30 Miller DL, Ross EM, Alderslade R et al.Pertussis immunization and serious acute neurological illness in children. Brit Med J 1981; 282: 1595-1599.
31 Institute of Medicine. DPT Vaccine and Chronic Nervous System Dysfunction: A New Analysis. Washington, D.C. The National Academies Press 1994.
32 CDC. Pertussis vaccination: use of acellular pertussis vaccines among infants and young children. Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). MMWR Mar. 28, 1997;46(RR-7):1–25
33 Gustafsson L, Hallander HO, Olin P et al. A Controlled Trial of a Two-Component Acellular, A Five-Component Acellular, and a Whole Cell Pertussis Vaccine . New Engl J Med1996; 334(6): 349-355.
34 Greco D, Salmaso S, Mastrantonio P et al. A Controlled Trial of Two Acellular Vaccines and One Whole-Cell Vaccine Against Pertussis . N Engl J Med 1996; 334(6): 341-348.
35 Zhang L, Prietsch SOM et al. Acellular vaccines for preventing whooping cough in children (Review). The Cochrane Library 2014 , Issue 9.
36 Warfel JM, Zimmerman LI, Merkel TJ. Acellular pertussis vaccines protect against disease but fail to prevent infection and transmission in a nonhuman primate model. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2014; 111(2): 787–792.
37 Lavine J, Bjernstad O, de Blasio BF, Storsaeter J. Short-lived immunity against pertussis, age-specific routes of transmission, and the utility of a teenage booster vaccine .Vaccine 2012; 30(3): 544-551.
38 DeGouw D, Diavatopoulos DA, Bootsma HJ et al. Pertussis: a matter of immune modulation. FEMS Microbiol Rev 2011; 35(2011): 441-474.
39 Libster R, Edwards KM. Re-emergence of Pertussis: What Are the Solutions? Expert Rev Vaccines 2012; 11(11): 1331-1346.
40 Bouchez B, Guiso N.Bordetella pertussis, B. parapertussis, vaccines and cycles of whooping cough. FEMS Pathogens and Disease Aug. 4, 2015 (online
41 CDC. Preventing Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis Among Adolescents: Use of Tetanus Toxoid, Reduced Diphtheria Toxoid and Acellular Pertussis Vaccines. Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). MMWR May 24, 2006;55(RR-3):1–34.
42 CDC. Preventing Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis Among Adults: Use of Tetanus Toxoid, Reduced Diphtheria Toxoid and Acellular Pertussis Vaccines. Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and Recommendation of ACIP supported by the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC for Use of Tdap Among Health-Care Personnel. MMWR Dec. 15, 2006; 55(RR-17): 1-37.
43 Wei SC, Tetti K, Cushing K et al. Effectiveness of Adolescent and Adult Tetanus Reduced-Dose Diphtheria and Acellular Pertussis Vaccine against Pertussis . Clin Infect Dis 2010; 51(3): 315-321.
44 Mooi FR, van Oirschot H, Heuvelman K et al. Polymorphism in the Bordetella pertussis Virulance Factors P. 69/Pertactin and Pertussis Toxin in The Netherlands: Temporal Trends and Evidence for Vaccine-Driven Evolution . Infection and Immunity 1998; 66(2): 670-675.
45 Simondon F., Guiso N.Genetic evolution under vaccine pressure: the Bordetella pertussis model. Bull Soc Pathol Exot 2000; 93(3): 202-205.
46 De Melker HE, Schellekens JFP, Neppelenbroek SE et al. Reemergence of Pertussis in the Highly Vaccinated Population of the Netherlands: Observations on Surveillance Data. Emerg Infect Dis 2000; 6(4): 348-357.
47 Mooi FR, vanLoo IHM, King AJ . Adaptation of Bordetella pertussis to vaccination: A Cause for Its Reemergence? Emerg Infect Dis 2001; 7(3): 526-528.
48 Weber C, Boursaux-Eude C, Coralie G et al. Polymorphism of Bordetella pertussis Isolates Circulating for the Last 10 Years in France, Where a Single Effective Whole-Cell Vaccine Has Been Used for More than 30 Years . J Clin Microbiol 2001; 39(12): 4296-4403.
49 Bart MJ, van Gent M, van der Heide HGJ et al. Comparative genomics of prevaccination and modern Bordetella pertussis strains . BMC Genomics 2010; 11: 627.
50 Xu Y, Liu B et al. Whole-genome sequencing reveals the effect of vaccination on the evolution of Bordetella pertussis . Sci Rep 2015; 5: 12888.
51 Mooi FR, van Loo IHM, van Gent M et al. Bordetella pertussis Strains with Increased Toxin Production Associated with Pertussis Resurgence . Emerg Infect Dis 2009; 15(8): 1206-1213.
52 Kallonen T, He Q. Bordetella pertussis strain variation and evolution post vaccination. Expert Rev Vaccines 2009; 8(7): 863-875.
53 Mooi FR. Bordetella pertussis and vaccination: the persistence of a genetically monomorphic pathogen . Infect Genet Evol 2010; 10(1): 36-49.
54 Guiso N, Hegerle N. Other Bordetellas, lessons for and from pertussis vaccines. Expert Rev Vaccines 2014; 13(9): 1125-1133.
55 Bouchez V, Hegerle N, Strati F et al.New Data on Vaccine Antigen Deficient Bordetella pertussis Isolates. Vaccines (Basel) 2015; 3(3): 751-770.
56 Mooi FR, van Loo IHM, van Gent M et al. Bordetella pertussis Strains with Increased Toxin Production Associated with Pertussis Resurgence . Emerg Infect Dis 2009; 15(8): 1206-1213.
57 CDC. Updated Recommendations for Use of Tetanus Toxoid, Reduced Diphtheria Toxoid and Acellular Pertussis Vaccine (Tdap) in Pregnant Women and Persons Who Have or Anticipate Having Close Contact with an Infant Aged <12 Months — Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), 2011 . MMWR Oct. 21, 2011; 60(41): 1424-1426.
58 Healy CM, Rench MA, Wootton SH, Castagnini LA.Evaluation of the impact of a pertussis cocooning program on infant pertussis infection. Pediatr Infect Dis J 2015; 34(1): 22-26.
59 NVIC. National Vaccine Information Center Supports Three of Five Recommendations of New IOM Report on U.S. Childhood Immunization Schedule Safety and Calls for Transparency. Businesswire Jan. 16, 2013.
60 Collins F. Resurgence of Measles, Pertussis Fueled by Vaccine Refusals . NIH Mar. 22, 2016.
61 Fisher BL. The Vaccine Culture War in America: Are You Ready? NVIC Newsletter Mar. 8, 2015.
62 NVIC. National Vaccine Information Center Says Proposed 21st Century Cures Act Will Endanger the Public Health by Lowering FDA Licensing Standards. Businesswire July 22, 2015.
63 Fisher BL. Vaccine Injury Compensation: Government’s Broken Social Contract with Parents. Nov. 2, 2015. NVIC Newsletter Nov. 2, 2016.