Targeted immunization to protect infants against pertussis in the United States

Emily Babcock, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Pertussis is an infectious disease caused by the bacteria Bordetella pertussis, and is associated with a serious respiratory infection, a prolonged cough, and can require hospitalization. A vaccine for adolescents and adults has been available since 2005. This paper examines one recommended immunization strategy to prevent pertussis among infants, called “cocooning.” The strategy focuses on creating immunity among adult caregivers so they serve as a protective cocoon to the newborns, who are too young to be vaccinated. This paper looks at relevant studies summarizing implementation of cocooning strategies and addresses the question – Does the research literature support the view of using cocooning as an effective strategy to prevent pertussis in infants? After exclusions, 8 studies remained for synthesis. The evidence shows that cocooning is complex strategy and the evidence is mixed when it comes to ensuring an increase in immunization of caregivers.

Subject Area

Public health

Recommended Citation

Babcock, Emily, "Targeted immunization to protect infants against pertussis in the United States" (2011). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1487776.