We estimated the potential benefits of advancing the first dose of pertussis vaccine for infants from 8 to 6 weeks of age, using Australian national disease databases. Infants had notification rates 3-fold greater than the general population and accounted for 52% of recorded hospitalizations. Infants 1 and 2 months of age had notification rates 3.5 times (95% CI: 2.7–4.5) higher than infants 3 to 11 months of age. Estimation of acceleration of the vaccine to 6 weeks of age reduced average notifications, hospitalizations, and hospital bed-days by 8%, 9%, and 12%, respectively, with larger reductions in an epidemic year.
From the *Communicable Disease and Surveillance Branch, Office of Health Protection, Department of Health and Ageing, Australian Government, Canberra, Australia; †National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia; and ‡National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance of Vaccine Preventable Diseases, The Children's Hospital at Westmead and the University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia.
Accepted for publication July 27, 2010.
Supported by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing (to A.R.F., Master of Applied Epidemiology program). The National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance for Vaccine Preventable Diseases is supported by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing, the New South Wales Department of Health and the Children's Hospital at Westmead.
Address for correspondence: Ruth Foxwell, MSc, PhD, Communicable Disease and Surveillance Branch, Office of Health Protection, Department of Health and Ageing, MDP 14, PO Box 9848, Canberra ACT 2601 Australia. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.