March 22, 2023

In The News: World Needs a Better Pertussis Vaccine, Expert Argues

Healio shares a presentation from the St. Jude/PIDS Pediatric Infectious Diseases Research Conference by PIDS president, Buddy Creech. Speaking on the subject of the pertussis vaccine, Dr. Creech confided, “We have a great vaccine. It’s not great enough.” Researchers from the CDC, WHO, and UNICEF reported in November 2022 that 25 million children worldwide were unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated. The pertussis vaccine is part of nearly every country’s immunization program.

Dr. Creech shared the high coverage in the United States has related to a “wonderful decline” in the diseases. Yet, there are still “maybe 140,000 to 150,000” cases that are diagnosed in the world. That is likely an undercount, Dr. Creech suggested, due to practitioners not always looking for pertussis.

He wrapped up his presentation with a pair of possible alterations to the vaccine that could lead to the needed improvement. The goal is to achieve a vaccine that helps lead to healthier childhoods. “What we want our vaccines to do is mimic the response to natural infection if the response to natural infection clears that particular pathogen,” Dr. Creech concluded.

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