DTaP Vaccine: A Geeky Overview

The DTaP is a vaccine that contains toxoids and some antigens adsorbed onto aluminum adjuvants to stimulate antibodies against Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis.

The DTaP is an acellular vaccine that replaced the whole cell pertussis vaccine, DPT, in the mid to late 1990s. In 1948, the antigens for Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis were rolled into one vaccine, and recommended for infants and children prior to entry into school.

After a long history of adverse reactions spanning 5 decades (including sudden fatal anaphylactic shock in twins following injection, and numerous studies investigating the relationship between SIDS and vaccination) to the whole cell pertussis, the United States and UK eventually adopted the acellular DTaP vaccine for infants and children. Though this newer vaccine is less effective at preventing infection, it had fewer reported adverse reactions. Vaccine coverage went from 70ish% of infants receiving the DPT to over 94% consenting to the acellular version.

Currently, the acellular vaccine does not prevent transmission and colonization of pertussis bacteria, which is why we see a high resurgence of whooping cough, especially in fully vaccinated children. Fully vaccinated children and adults can spread it unknowingly to unvaccinated infants and children, which is one reason why the vaccine is dangerous.

In the late 19th century / early 20th century, the medicine given to children would by today’s standards be considered poison. Vapo-cresolene was a coal-tar derivative which was heated in a lamp like device and children with whooping cough breathed the fumes. This was endorsed by the American Medical Association (AMA).
A small child receives an injection of vaccine against diphtheria, whooping cough (pertussis), and tetanus. These three immunizations were combined in 1948 in the United States.

Understand Pertussis Vaccine

Today’s pertussis vaccine is acellular (in developed nations). Acellular means that vaccine manufacturers take the bacterial cell surface and chops it up into small pieces. It only includes very specific fragments, approximately including 3-5 protein fragments (aka antigens) out of a possible 3,000 (when comparing to the WHOLE CELL pertussis vaccine).

The vaccine also contains pertussis toxoid (different than toxin). Toxoid is the chemically altered version of the toxin so that it is no longer active.

The toxoid and the handful of bacterial protein fragments are then bonded to aluminum adjuvants.

“Cresolene should be vaporized in a bedroom of ordinary size and the doors and windows should be kept closed while the Vaporizor is in use. In oppressive weather a window may be open for ventilation. The most convenient time to use the Vaporizor is at night. The cup full of Cresolene is generally sufficient for a night’s treatment. The most delicate child or person in good health experiences no injury. Large doses of whisky, vinegar, Epsom or Glauber Salts should be given once if Cresolene is swallowed or if it falls one the skin, apply cinegar or alcohol. The odor of Cresolene will soon pass away if the room is thoroughly aired during the day. Cresolene imparts a burning sensation to the skin and is poisonous if taken internally, it should therefore, be kept out of reach of children.”

Understand the pathophysiology of Pertussis

In order to understand the limitations of the vaccine, you must first understand how the disease works.

First, and I’ve seen countless people get this wrong for some odd reason: pertussis is a bacteria, NOT a virus.

Second, the majority of bacterial infections are considered to be toxin-mediated diseases. What that means is the bacteria produces toxins that causes some kind of disruption or damage to your body.

When you are exposed to the bacteria and it adheres to your lung tissue, the bacteria begins to immediately produce their toxins. There are three main ones (there are others, but these are the most important):

  1. Pertussis toxin (PT or PTX) – aids in the disruption of cell signalling that prevents your immune system from responding to the bacteria.
  2. Adenylate Cyclase toxin (ACT) – has similar function to PTX, to prevent your immune system from responding to the bacteria.
  3. Tracheal Cytotoxin (TCT) – you have finger-like cilia in your lungs that beat in such a way to move mucus out of your lungs. TCT paralyzes/kills your lung cilia, effectively allowing mucus to pool in your lungs. This is how “whooping cough” is formed, because your body violently coughs or finds other means to forcibly move the mucus out of the lungs (like throwing up).
Delavau’s Remedy contained 8% alcohol and 1 minim of chloroform per ounce and was recommended for all ages, even newborns.
Delavau’s Remedy contained chloroform, which killed people.

To summarize, the toxins that pertussis produces prevents your immune system from recognizing/destroying the bacteria, and it prevents your body from moving mucus out of the lungs as it normally would.

It takes a very long time for the immune system to figure out how to combat this, hence it is known as the 100 day cough.

Pertussis Vaccine vs. Natural Exposure

Antigen count:

~5 vs. 3,000

Toxin count:

1 vs. 3 (only including the important ones here)

Immunostimulatory event:

aluminum adjuvants causing cellular damage vs. PTX, ACT, and TCT toxins causing cellular damage

Hopefully it’s plain to see why the vaccine response is mismatched with the natural response.

Vaccine immunity teaches you very, very little antigens to recognize the bacteria by (~0.17% of the entire bacteria).

The vaccine only teaches the immune system how to recognize ONE toxin vs all pertussis toxins.

Aluminum cell damage would produce a very different immune response compared to the cell damage caused by the bacterial toxins.

While this is a general overview, hopefully it provides more insight as to the potential reason why vaccination cannot prevent colonization/transmission.

(Science explanation courtesy of Whyser)

Additionally, more and more cases of pertussis, also called whooping cough, are caused by mutated strains of the bacteria bordetella pertussis, which are evolving without pertactin, one of the outer membrane proteins, rendering the vaccine even more useless. In this case, the vaccine has caused the bacteria to selectively mutate. Read all about that here.

What can you do?

Follow the Vitamin C Protocol for Whooping Cough by Dr. Suzanne Humphries


Further Reading: