When should pertussis vaccine not be given?

Pertussis immunisation should not be given to the following infants:

  • A progressive central nervous system disease such as uncontrolled epilepsy. Children with mental retardation or cerebral palsy can be given routine immunisations including DPT as these are not progressive condition.
  • Infants who have had a severe reaction or clinical signs of encephalopathy within 7 days of a previous DPT immunisation, e.g. persistent screaming, collapse, drowsiness, confusion, fits or a fever over 40.5 °C.
  • Usually, pertussis vaccine is not given to children over the age of 18 months as the risk of severe reactions to pertussis vaccine increases with age. These infants should be given DT vaccine instead.

Mild fever and redness with some pain is common with DPT immunisation and are not contraindications to future immunisations. A family history of convulsions is also not a contraindication. Neither are cerebral palsy and Down Syndrome.

Pertussis vaccine should not be given if the child had a severe reaction to a previous DPT immunisation.

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