Pertussis (whooping cough) epidemics continue to increase in the US, with 50,000 recorded cases this year. Most people who got pertussis have been fully vaccinated.
Thanks to investigative journalist Sharyl Atkisson for pointing out the baboon research, discussed in the NY Times and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences last year.
FDA's Office of Vaccines Research and Review studied 4 groups of baboons who received either a) an older, more effective but more dangerous pertussis (DTP) vaccine; b) a newer, acellular but less effective (DTaP) vaccine; c) no vaccine; or d) a previous infection with pertussis and developed subsequent immunity.
The researchers found that baboons who received a pertussis vaccine, and then were exposed to pertussis, got a mild form of the disease themselves. But what was worse, they became carriers of the disease for 6 weeks.
Mothers who are being vaccinated in their 3d trimester could then become enhanced carriers of pertussis to their newborns, were they to be exposed. That is, if humans respond like baboons to pertussis and acellular pertussis vaccine. FDA thinks baboons are a very good model for humans. FDA was so concerned about the implications of its research that it issued a press release about the findings.
The researchers at FDA wrote that "the observation that aP [acellular DTaP vaccine], which induces an immune response mismatched to that induced by natural infection, fails to prevent colonization or transmission provides a plausible explanation for the resurgence of pertussis and suggests that optimal control of pertussis will require the development of improved vaccines."
There may be other issues with DTP vaccines that I touched on in this blog post. DTP was found to be associated with increased mortality in low birthweight African baby girls by longtime Danish vaccine researcher Peter Aaby.