Vaccine a dud, says city doctor

A WHOOPING cough epidemic is sweeping Australia and according to one Ipswich doctor the current vaccine is the reason why.

Ipswich Medical Centre GP Paul Curson said many of the people he had treated during this epidemic were fully immunised, suggesting the vaccine was failing to protect people.

So far this year 490 cases of Pertussis (whooping cough) have been reported in the West Moreton Health Services District, up from 436 last year but far in excess of the 50 cases in 2007.

Dr Carson, a veteran of 30 years as a GP, said the current vaccine was simply not doing its job.

"The vaccine is no good, we're seeing whooping cough in people that shouldn't really have it," Dr Curson said.

"It is showing up in kids that have been vaccinated."

Dr Heidi Carroll, a public health physician with Queensland Health's Communicative Diseases Control Service said Dr Curson's claim was baseless.

"No vaccine is 100% effective, the Pertussis vaccine is about 80-90% effective," she said.

"What it is really good at is preventing death and serious illness. People can still pick up the illness (but) it is often a lot milder than it otherwise would have been.

"It's true we are getting more young people coming through but that is because of the epidemic."

Dr Curson blamed a change from a cellular vaccine to an A- cellular version in the late 1990's for its reduced effectiveness.

Dr Carroll said she "strongly disagreed", because all vaccines go through a rigorous testing process before they are approved.

"This is a better vaccine, that's why it was introduced," she said.

"They are required to do lots of research and testing through the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

"This is a good and effective vaccine."

Topics:  whooping cough

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