Immunogenicity of combined diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccine given at 2, 3, and 4 months versus 3, 5, and 9 months of age

Lancet. 1992 Feb 29;339(8792):507-10. doi: 10.1016/0140-6736(92)90336-2.


In the UK an accelerated schedule for immunisation against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (injections at 2, 3, and 4 months of age) was introduced in 1990 to replace the more widely spaced schedule of 3, 5, and 9 months. There is concern, however, that the new schedule may be less immunogenic and therefore less protective than the old schedule. We have measured serum concentrations of antibodies against diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus in infants immunised according to the two regimens. Both schedules resulted in protective concentrations of antibody against tetanus and diphtheria and in satisfactory antibody responses to three pertussis antigens (filamentous haemagglutinin, pertussis toxin, fimbriae). However, immunisation by the old schedule led to significantly higher antibody concentrations against both diphtheria and tetanus than did immunisation by the new schedule (p less than 0.01). In infants immunised with the new schedule, postimmunisation antibody concentrations against tetanus toxoid and against two pertussis antigens (pertussis toxin and fimbriae) were significantly lower in infants in whom preimmunisation (maternally derived) antibody concentrations were high (p less than 0.02). The findings suggest that with an accelerated immunisation schedule maternal antibodies can have an inhibitory effect on the responses to immunisation against tetanus and pertussis.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Bacterial / biosynthesis*
  • Bordetella pertussis / immunology
  • Clostridium tetani / immunology
  • Corynebacterium diphtheriae / immunology
  • Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis Vaccine / administration & dosage
  • Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis Vaccine / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunization Schedule*
  • Infant


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis Vaccine