Current infant vaccination against pertussis in North America and Australia requires three doses of vaccines including diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis antigens (DTaP) at 2, 4 and 6 months of age. Interest is growing in the possibility that vaccination at birth might provide earlier protection of infants, but early vaccination also gives rise to concerns over the potential for excessive Th2-polarisation of pertussis-specific T-cell memory profiles. We evaluated this issue as part of a small pilot study comparing infants receiving a monovalent acellular pertussis vaccine (aP) at birth or birth and at 1 month, followed by DTaP at 2, 4 and 6 months with infants receiving DTaP only from 2 months. We compared in vitro Th-memory responses at 8 months and pertussis-specific IgG in serum at 2, 4, 6 and 8 months. Neonatal vaccination elicited earlier IgG responses, but accompanying Th-memory profiles displayed a strong Th2 bias with high IL-5 and IL-13 production. The correlation between T-cell memory profiles and other clinical outcomes should be evaluated in larger trials of neonatal aP vaccine.
White, O. J., Rowe, J., Richmond, P., Marshall, H., Mcintyre, P., Wood, N., Holt, P., & Richmond, P. (2010). Th2-polarisation of cellular immune memory to neonatal pertussis vaccination. Vaccine, 28(4), 2648-2652. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.vaccine.2010.01.010