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Whooping Cough vaccine

The ‘whole cell’ vaccine that was used in the UK until 2004 was one of the least safe vaccines and it was discovered in the National Childhood Encephalopathy Study (1981) that it occasionally caused brain damage that could be permanent. The acellular whooping cough vaccine offered by BabyJabs is much safer. There is no single whooping cough vaccine. The smallest combination vaccine available containing whooping cough is the 3-in-1 DTaP. We have given thousands of these vaccines with no serious adverse reaction.

Side effects

The ‘acellular vaccine’ now used in the UK (and offered at BabyJabs) is much safer and, crucially, there is less risk of severe reactions such as encephalopathy (brain damage), collapse and fits. The new vaccine still commonly causes irritability, drowsiness and loss of appetite. Fits and episodes of collapses and unresponsiveness (known as hypotonic hyporesponsive episodes) may occasionally happen.


Unfortunately, the whooping cough vaccine is one of the less effective vaccines, as shown by how commonplace the illness still is. The effectiveness of the better acellular vaccines in preventing a full attack of whooping cough is over 80%, but somewhat less (70%-76%) at preventing a mild attack. The protection provided by the acellular vaccines wears off rapidly after each dose so that the average protection offered children may be around 50%.

To download a detailed list of all the vaccines we offer including all their ingredients please follow this