- There has been one death from pertussis in Ireland since 1986.
- It can be a nasty illness with full recovery taking weeks or even months.
- Your baby may still contract whooping cough even if they get the vaccine. 56% of those that got whooping cough in Ireland between 2013 and 2018 were vaccinated.
Health Freedom Ireland (HFI) encourages you to become fully informed about vaccines and the associated illnesses so that you can give informed consent if you choose to vaccinate yourself or your child(ren). This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. HFI is simply bringing this information to you – we neither recommend nor advise against vaccination.
Does the HSE recommend a vaccine for whooping cough?
Each of the vaccines outlined below is covered in detail in the linked Health Freedom Ireland documents (including risks, benefits, ingredients and studies). There is a recommendation to get 4 doses of whooping cough before age 5.
- Boostrix vaccine – pregnant mothers are recommended to take the whooping cough vaccine. However, because there is no singular vaccine for whooping cough, Boostrix (Tdap), which includes diphtheria and tetanus, is used.
- Infanrix Hexa (6-in-1) vaccine is recommended at 2, 4 & 6 months of age.
- Tetravac vaccine is recommended for junior infants.
As of 23rd September, 2023, there were 67,851 adverse events (including 217 SIDS deaths) reported on the World Health Organisation VigiAccess database for 6-in-1 vaccines including Infanrix Hexa, 236,010 (including 1,180 SIDS deaths) for 3-in-1 vaccines including Boostrix and 75,686 for 4-in-1 vaccines including Tetravac.
Does vaccination guarantee protection from the whooping cough?
No – you may still get whooping cough even after vaccination. According to the HPSC Annual Surveillance reports, of the 610 cases of pertussis between 2013 and 2018, 56% were vaccinated.
What is pertussis (whooping cough)?
Pertussis, commonly referred to as whooping cough, is a contagious respiratory disease caused by the Bordetella (B.) pertussis bacterium. It can be quite a nasty and prolonged illness even in older children. It can threaten life in young infants under one year of age and it is in this group that complications and death most often occur.
This case control series found that babies who were exclusively breastfed and with mothers vaccinated against pertussis during pregnancy were 5 times less likely to develop pertussis-like illness. (The effect of the mother being vaccinated was not statistically significant). This study speaks about the importance of maternal protection passed to the new born baby via the placenta. They also mention differences between the immune response depending on whether the mother was vaccinated or had the natural infection. It is likely that pre-vaccines babies were protected in the vulnerable younger period when their mother had had pertussis. It is rarely serious in children older than six and adults rarely contract the illness even when they are exposed and have never had it before.
Symptoms at its onset are similar to the common cold, or an allergy attack with stuffy or runny nose, dry cough, loss of appetite, fatigue and, sometimes, a low fever. After one to two weeks, the disease usually progresses to bursts of spasmodic coughing (paroxysms) with large amounts of mucous, gagging and vomiting with or without a whoop that becomes worse at night. During the day, the patient may look and feel fine with the exception of frequent coughing spasms. A final recovery stage with only occasional coughing fits may last for weeks or even months.
What is the risk of my child getting pertussis (whooping cough) in Ireland?
Between 2004 and 2017 there was an extremely rare chance of 1 in 30,260 (0.003%) of getting pertussis in Ireland. According to the HPSC Annual Reports between 2004 and 2010 there were on average 87 notified cases of pertussis each year. Between 2011 and 2018 there were on average 205 cases per year. Not all of these cases were confirmed.
What is the risk of dying from pertussis (whooping cough) in Ireland?
The last death from pertussis in Ireland was 28 years ago in 1995. The risk of dying from pertussis in Ireland in the decade before the vaccine was introduced in 1952 was extremely rare at less than 1 in 16,667 (0.006%).
|average population 1942 – 1951= 2,963,200|
average annual risk of dying from pertussis during this period < 1 in 16,667 (0.006%)
Pertussis (whooping cough) disease Vs vaccine risk summary
Read the Health Freedom Ireland article on the Infanrix Hexa (6-in-1) vaccine which includes the whooping cough vaccine for further information including risk and ingredients analysis, studies in support of and studies highlighting concerns.
|RISK FROM PERTUSSIS DISEASE|
|Risk of getting pertussis in Ireland 2004 – 2017||Extremely rare: <1 in 30,260 (0.003%)|
|Risk of dying from pertussis in Ireland before vaccine was introduced in 1952||Extremely rare: <1 in 16,667 (0.006%)|
|Current risk of dying from pertussis in Ireland||Negligible: Last death in 1995|
|RISK FROM PERTUSSIS VACCINES|
see section 4 of patient information leaflet for full list of side effects
**Severe allergic reactions can occur to any vaccine but they are very rare and are usually seen in less than 1 in 10,000 people who are vaccinated
(1 dose recommended during pregnancy)
|Risk of Guillain-Barré syndrome||Very rare: up to 1 in 10,000 doses (0.01%)|
|Risk of fever, pain, flu like symptoms, swollen glands, upper respiratory tract infection, fainting||Uncommon: up to 1 in 100 doses (1%)|
|Risk of difficulty breathing (angioedema), collapse, seizures, unusual weakness (asthenia)||Frequency unknown – during routine use (after launched on market)|
|Infanrix Hexa (6-in-1) vaccine|
(3 doses recommended at 2, 4 & 6 months)
|Risk of bronchitis, lymphadenopathy, bleeding or bruising more easily (thrombocytopenia)||Rare: up to 1 in 1,000 doses (0.1%)|
|Risk of Neuropathy, Guillain-Barré syndrome, encephalopathy, encephalitis, meningitis (causal relationship to the vaccine has not been established)||In extremely rare cases (frequency not defined)|
(1 dose recommended at 4 years)
|Risk of convulsions, lymphadenopathy, Guillain-Barré syndrome, shock like state, unresponsive (hypotonic hyporesponsive episodes)||Frequency unknown – cannot be estimated from available data|
Join the parents support group to continue the discussion and learn from the experience of others
Health Freedom Ireland:
Health Freedom Ireland Infanrix Hexa (6-in-1) vaccine