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Before the 1990s, the pertussis immunization was part of the DTP vaccine, which contained the whole cell pertussis vaccine. The public became really concerned about the side effects of DTP (even though they were generally benign ailments like high fever and soreness at the injection site), so we switched to a newer vaccine called acellular pertussis vaccine in the 1990s. The acellular pertussis vaccine is not as effective as the whole-cell vaccine.
"There are people who have misconceptions about vaccines, such as the concern that they might cause autism – a charge that has been completely disproven," explains UCLA pediatric infectious-disease specialist James Cherry, MD. Prior to 1995, there were some negative reactions to the whole-cell DTP vaccine, but the present vaccines have had the reaction-causing components of the old DTP vaccine removed, so that reaction – fever and redness, pain at the vaccination site – is generally mild and less common. Moreover, the preservative thimerosal, which is falsely linked to autism, is now not even in the vaccine.
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