Effectiveness of a whole cell pertussis vaccine in child-care centers and schools

Pediatr Infect Dis J. 1996 Jun;15(6):519-24. doi: 10.1097/00006454-199606000-00009.


Background: Pertussis has substantially increased in Quebec, Canada, since 1990. We estimated pertussis vaccine effectiveness and vaccine coverage in child-care centers and elementary schools.

Methods: Two retrospective cohort studies were simultaneously conducted. One included 4482 children attending 88 public child-care centers and the other included 3429 pupils in 14 elementary schools. Cough and pertussis symptoms were assessed through a questionnaire and medical records; immunization status was ascertained by examination of written records.

Results: In child-care centers 95% of children had received at least three vaccine doses at the beginning of the follow-up; in schools more than 98% of pupils had received at least 4 doses. With > or = 4 doses of vaccine and a standard case definition used for surveillance (cough > or = 2 weeks, > or = 1 pertussis symptom and no other apparent cause for cough), vaccine effectiveness was estimated at 61% (95% confidence interval, 44 to 72%) in child-care centers and at 60% (95% confidence interval, 10 to 82%) in schools. With the same number of doses but a case definition requiring a cough > or = 5 weeks, vaccine effectiveness increased to 71% (95% confidence interval, 49 to 83) in child-care centers and to 86% (95% confidence interval, 66 to 94%) in schools.

Conclusions: The increase in pertussis in Quebec is not caused by a low vaccine coverage. A low vaccine effectiveness may contribute to the resurgence of pertussis in the past decade.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Child
  • Child Day Care Centers
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical Records / statistics & numerical data
  • Pertussis Vaccine / administration & dosage
  • Pertussis Vaccine / immunology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Schools
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Whooping Cough / diagnosis
  • Whooping Cough / immunology
  • Whooping Cough / prevention & control


  • Pertussis Vaccine