Pertaprime (Whooping Cough) Study in Young Adults

Project Plan

Ever wanted to be part of a research project aimed at improving the health outcomes of our communities?

If you are a healthy 18-25 year old now is your chance! Here at The Telethon Kids Institute we are aiming to find out if a new Pertussis (Whooping Cough) vaccine called Pertagen® can provide longer lasting protection and a superior immunity to this disease.

This stand-alone vaccine could be particularly useful for people who need frequent vaccinations such as pregnant women, healthcare professionals and childcare workers and is very important for those who are in close contact with babies and young children.

The vaccines currently used in Australia are always combinations of Pertussis (Whooping Cough), Diphtheria and Tetanus and the latest research shows that immunity begins to wane after 3-5 years. As a result of previous clinical trials Pertagen® has shown to be safe and effective and is now licensed for use in Thailand.


Pertussis (Whooping Cough) vaccines have been around for a long time. But recent research has shown that the vaccine currently used in Australia (Boostrix) starts to lose its effectiveness after 3-5 years. Also, as Boostrix is a combination vaccine you also receive both Tetanus and Diphtheria with every Boostrix vaccine which may be unnecessary. In this study, Pertagen®, which is already licensed in Thailand, will be compared to Boostrix. Early results look promising with a longer lasting and superior immunity in participants who received Pertagen® .

What we’re doing

In this study we are looking at the immune responses generated by the body as well as continuing to develop the safety profile of Pertagen® and Boostrix. Participants receive randomly one of the vaccines at Visit 1. A blood sample is taken prior to the vaccine to determine base-line immunity. Blood samples taken 1 month and 12 months later provide information on short- and medium-term immune responses. Antibody levels to Pertussis will be evaluated from these samples. Participants also complete a written diary for 1-week post vaccination to record any local (redness, swelling/hardness and pain at the injection site), systemic (fever, headache, fatigue and chills) or general (muscle/joint pain and nausea/vomiting) reactions they may encounter. The general health of the participant is reviewed throughout the study and any changes followed up by the study doctors.

Your Support

To assess the ongoing safety and effectiveness of this vaccine we require a total of 210 participants. Each participant attends 3 x study visits at The Perth Children’s Hospital over a 12-month period where they will initially receive one dose of either the study vaccine or Boostrix (randomly assigned). General health checks will be conducted by the study doctor and research nurses. We will take three blood samples of 10-20ml over the course of the study to measure the participants immune response to the vaccine and there will be 3 follow-up phone calls. The total time commitment is approximately 6 hours over the year.

Please forward this project on to people you may think would be interested:

Telethon Kids Institute

Here at The Telethon Kids Institute our vision is to improve the health outcomes of our communities. Infectious diseases and vaccine preventable diseases are still the most common cause of death in children and the most common reason that children under the age of two are hospitalized. As part of the institute we are involved in research that evaluates new vaccines for a range of diseases as well as monitoring existing vaccines and investigating the prevalence of vaccine preventable diseases through hospital surveillance.

Our work has contributed to new vaccines such as Bexsero® for Meningococcal B disease and Cervarix® for HPV. We have a dedicated team of researchers, doctors, nurses, laboratory staff and administration staff who work together to ensure the highest standards of research are maintained.