Pertussis vaccine 'should be extended to teens'

The RCGP's immunisation lead has called for teenagers to be vaccinated against pertussis in the wake of the ongoing whooping cough outbreak.

Vaccine containing pertussis antigens could be used as booster jab in the childhood vaccination programme at age 15 (Photo: SPL)

Berkshire GP Dr George Kassianos said the NHS 'can do more and we should do more' to protect the population from the disease by vaccinating teenagers.

Pregnant women can get the pertussis jab from Monday as part of a DH programme to protect mums-to-be and newborns from the disease, a move welcomed by the RCGP.

But Dr Kassianos believes there is 'no reason' why a vaccine containing pertussis antigens could not be used for the fourth booster jab in the childhood vaccination programme at age 15 to encourage herd immunity.

The UK is experiencing the largest outbreak of whooping cough in 20 years, with 4,791 confirmed cases occurred in the first eight months of 2012. Nine infants have died.

Speaking to GP, Dr Kassianos said: 'We should be giving a pertussis booster to our schoolchildren. So many countries do so, including the US.

'This will ensure a reduction in the pertussis virus circulation, which will ultimate contribute towards protection not just of the individuals but also the infants at home, the parents, the adults, the elderly.'

He added: 'We are seeing increasingly larger number of patients with pertussis, of any age. The ultimate protection of our infants is when you immunise those around them or at least you reduce the virus circulation in the community.'

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins


Already registered?

Sign in

Just published

GP receptionist on the phone

Some practices to receive funding to upgrade digital phone systems

GP practices whose digital phone systems do not meet new NHS England standards will...

Woman using mobile phone

Safety issues with remote GP consultations 'extremely rare', study shows

Safety incidents are 'extremely rare' in remote GP consultations but risk is higher...

BMA sign

BMA urges 'courtesy and respect' ahead of talks over physician associate roles

The BMA is set for urgent talks with NHS officials over fears its call for a recruitment...

Andrea Leadsom

DHSC confirms new minister responsible for general practice

Andrea Leadsom has been confirmed as the new DHSC minister for primary care and general...


Government must match consultants' pay offer in new contract for GPs

GPs have warned they could be forced into industrial action if the government fails...

Consultants in London on strike earlier this year

Consultants to vote on new pay deal to end strikes

Consultants will vote on a government pay offer that would increase salaries by up...