Optimising pertussis vaccination strategies

Pertussis remains challenging to control, despite widespread use of vaccines to protect infants and children from this disease over many decades. Resurgence of disease has been evidenced by an increase in infant deaths in the US and UK in recent years, and by a rise in notifications and hospitalisations in Australia. We have used models of pertussis infection to consider optimal immunization approaches to reduce pertussis disease in Australia and beyond. These have included provision of additional doses on the routine childhood vaccine schedule, and best use of strategies targeted at mother-infant pairs to prevent disease in vulnerable babies. Findings have been presented to decision makers in Australia, and by invitation to a World Health Organisation working group on pertussis.