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Pertussis Vaccine

Volume 19: debated on Tuesday 2 March 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will give the number of reports of possible adverse reactions to the pertussis vaccine made to the Committee on Safety of Medicines using the yellow card system for each year since 1975 for which figures are available; and if he will give the number of children receiving a vaccine with a pertussis element in the same years.

The number of reports of suspected adverse reactions to pertussis vaccine received by the Committee on Safety of medicines from all sources in the United Kingdom, and the number of children in the United Kingdom who received vaccination including a pertussis element are shown in the following table:

Number of reports

Number of children


* Figures for reports received in each of the years 1975 and 1976 separately are not readily available.

† Figures for 1981 are not yet available.

These figures, which relate to voluntary reporting, should not be used to attempt to calculate incidence of adverse effects of pertussis vaccination; they cannot be regarded as comprehensive, and include clinically minor effects, such as injection site reaction, as well as those which are clinically severe.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will give an average annual figure for the decades 1948 to 1957, 1958 to 1967 and 1968 to 1977, and separate figures for the years 1978, 1979, 1980 and 1981 for the number of payments for vaccine damage made to people vaccinated in the year or decade; if he will give separate figures for damage arising from a vaccine with a pertussis element; and if he will express the latter figure as a proportion of the number of children in the year or decade who were vaccinated with a vaccine with a pertussis element.

The information is as follows:

Decade/Year of VaccinationNumber of Vaccine Damage PaymentsNumber with a pertussis elementIn relation to (3) - rates per 100,000 completed primary courses
1948–57*9·6*6·4See Note (i)
* Annual average.


  • (i) Information on completed courses of vaccination with a pertussis element was not collected before 1958.
  • (ii) No figures are available in respect of vaccinations carried out in the years 1980 and 1981 since the Vaccine Damage Payments Act requires the disabled person to be aged 2 or over at the date of claim.