Painless vaccine for Whooping cough/DPT versus Painful vaccine

Painless vaccine for Whooping Cough?

Does this work?Are there painless options for everyone?The answers get interesting.Vaccine and painless? Sounds like an answer to a  prayer. Who in their right mind would like to cause pain to babies right?

Updated   15th September 2017

Painful vaccine for whooping cough or Painless? If the answer was limited only to the “pain ” factor of the vaccine, I would probably not even bother with this post.

But few things in life are that simple. Being parents mean,   you have to take enormous ‘pains’  to make the right choice.The right choice and easy choice are not always best friends.   With several types of research over the year,  facts about the two types of  DPT vaccine has become clear.

Though my aim is to help you take the right decision, you should always consult your pediatrician in case you have difficulty deciding.

What is Painless  Vaccine?

The painless vaccine is the popular name of acellular Pertussis ( whooping cough) vaccine.It is generally given as a combination vaccine, DaPT (Diphtheria,acellular-Pertussis, Tetanus).

What is Painful Vaccine?

The painful vaccine is also Pertussis vaccine like the painless vaccine, but it is whole cell vaccine.This too is given as a DwPT combination. So , both these vaccines are Pertussis vaccines, with a few important differentiating factors.

Painful vaccine?

Painful vaccine?

Pros of Painless vaccine for  whooping  cough

Post-vaccination side effects, like high fever,  persistent cry,  local site painful swelling, are less common, in this variety than a Painful vaccine.

 If a Painless vaccine is available, why the necessity of a Painful vaccine?

Experience with the Painless vaccine in  industrialized  countries has   unfortunately brought forward two important facts:

1) Painful, vaccine (whole-cell) for DPT: Better priming, which means initial sensitization to the antigen (bacteria) is better. Thus antibody production is more and protection is superior.2) The painless vaccine has a faster period of waning that is the immunity provided by the painless vaccine decreases faster than the painful vaccine. These two

2) The painless vaccine has a faster period of waning that is the immunity provided by the painless vaccine decreases faster than the painful vaccine. These two reasons are responsible for recent recurrence of whooping cough in many of the countries using only the Painless vaccine.

Why do we need to vaccinate our children against Pertussis?

Pertussis/Whooping cough/Kali Khasi/100 days cough are few of the names of the disease that can occur in all age groups depending on the  level of immunity.

It is a bacterial infection of the respiratory tract. Highly contagious, usually manifesting as severe, persistent  disturbing cough , lasting for a prolonged period not responsive to antibiotics.

Primary prevention (vaccination), and supportive care during disease are  the management protocols.   Infants are more at risk of debilitating course of the disease and thus most countries include this vaccine in their immunization schedule.

Current Recommendation for Pertussis vaccine

Indian Academy of Pediatrics recommends DwPT /Painful vaccine

Primary immunization: at 6 weeks, 10 weeks and 14 weeks.
Booster dose: at one and a half years and five years.

When can you give Painless vaccine for whooping cough

  • History of severe adverse effect to the previous dose of painful vaccine.
  • A child having any neurological problem.
  • Booster doses at one and a half years and five years.

Best practice

The painful vaccine is to be preferred in all cases as it gives better protection for a longer duration. A healthy child is a happy child.As parents, we have to make choices which have the potential to change their lives forever.Stay informed, take care and take charge.

My books to help you choose better

Fruits for life: Nutrition secrets your Doctor won’t tell

Picky Eater : Guaranteed Hacks to Make you Happy

If you found this article helpful, please share so that you can help someone too.

Disclaimer: This article was written after discussion with Dr.Abhijit Misra MD Pediatrics a.k.a my hubby. It is purely meant for education and information purposes and not to be confused with professional advice.Feel free to write to me with your questions and I promise I will help.Take care, stay healthy.


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  1. Informative ..recently my child recieved painful dtp due at 5 years. Earlier all were painless and some one said that we can’t give the painful vaccination if we got jer painless vaccination earlier. Request you to confirm if its ok to get painful vaccination after painless one

  2. Thank you for this post! It cleared a lot of my doubts and also told me that I took the right decision when I allowed the doctor to administer the painful vaccine for both my kids. Thank you for such an informative blog post.

  3. Thanks for the information!! Today I just googling about painful and pain less vaccine as today doctor gave painful vaccine to my son all other are pain less (First 3 in last 18 month). After reading this now I am worrying about first 3 painless vaccine. can you please advice me?

    • Hi Neeru , don’t wotry or panic.Scientific information gets updated and treating guidelines keep changing.But your doctor will always give you the best advice according to current recommendations. Since your child has received the painful type of booster now.That’s the best that could be done.He will be fine.

  4. would like to know whether we should give paracetamol soon after a painless vaccination… my daughter is 1 and half and gave painless vaccine ,the vaccinations given before were painful.. but after giving painless she was active without pain so i did,nt give any med but after 6 hours she started do show signs of pain in her leg.. so i gave paracetamol .. hope it will reduce the pain and wont stay for long..

    • Hi Greetham Paracetamol is a good medicine to reduce mild pain.It’s however always better to consult your doctor, in case if any complaints after vaccination.Thanks for reading.Do let me know if you have any more queries