New pertussis booster for 18 month olds on NIP

3 Mar 2016

A pertussis booster, provided as a combination vaccine for diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis (DTPa), has been added to the National Immunisation Program (NIP) schedule for children aged 18 months. Supplies of the vaccine will be available from March 2016.

The booster dose complements pertussis containing vaccinations given at two, four and six months with booster doses given at four years and 10 to 15 years. The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) considers the introduction of a pertussis booster dose at 18 months necessary from a public health perspective to improve pertussis control. This is due to waning immunity following primary immunisation and an increase in the number of infections in the two to nine year old age group in recent years. The new booster is intended to lead to a reduction in cases of pertussis in the 18 month to four year old age group.

Details of the vaccine brands, dosage, administration, storage and catch-up schedules is provided in the updated Australian Immunisation Handbook, 10th Edition, 2015. GPs are reminded not to use reduced antigen content DTPa vaccine for children under 10 years of age. This formulation is for use in adults and children aged 10 years and older (eg Adacel® and Boostrix® vaccine brands).

Targeted, enhanced surveillance of adverse events will be undertaken as part of the program roll-out. Any adverse events following immunisation can be reported to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) by going to the ‘report a problem’ link on the TGA website, or through the usual State and Territory reporting mechanisms.

Further information is available on the Immunise Australia website.