HealthDay News – Infant pertussis immunization rates did not increase in Washington state, despite a whooping cough outbreak there that lasted from October 2011 through December 2012, according to researchers.

“We have always assumed that when the risk of catching a disease is high, people will accept a vaccine that is effective in preventing that disease. Our results may challenge this assumption,” Elizabeth R. Wolf, MD, FAAP, of the University of Washington, Seattle Children’s Research Institute, said in a press release.

Wolf and colleagues compared the proportion of 3- to 8-month-old children who received the recommended number of doses of diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTaP), and observed no significant increase in pertussis vaccinations during the epidemic.

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The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices currently recommends a child receive at least one dose of DTaP by 3 months of age, at least two doses by 5 months and at least three doses by 7 months to be considered up-to-date.

Vaccination misinformation has resulted in many parents opting out of mandated childhood immunizations, despite recent reports of outbreaks of preventable childhood illnesses like pertussis and measles.

“Vaccination rates in the U.S. are still below public health goals,” said Wolf. “We don’t fully understand what improves vaccine acceptance.”


  1. Wolf ER et al. Abstract #3380.7. “The Effect of the 2011-2012 Pertussis Epidemic on Infant DTaP Vaccination in Washington State.” Presented at: Pediatric Academic Societies 2014 Meeting. Vancouver; May 3-6, 2014.