DPT vaccine is mainly used to prevent pertussis, diphtheria, and tetanus among the individuals to whom it is shot


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DPT vaccine is mainly used to prevent pertussis, diphtheria, and tetanus among the individuals to whom it is shot. It is mainly used among young people below the age of 7 years, and they are given this vaccine to prevent these diseases from affecting them to a great extent later in life as they grow up. The vaccine components include toxoids of diphtheria and tetanus. It also includes killed whole cells of the bacteria, which is a causative agent of pertussis. It was administered as part of childhood vaccines recommended by the centers for disease control and prevention (CDC) (Mnookin, 2012). The vaccine was used up to 1996 when the DTaP came into usage, which acted as its replacement. In the United Kingdom, this vaccine combination is referred to as DTP.

In the 20th century, there were few immunizations for the three diseases which this type of vaccine immunized against, and there was a surge in the number of fatalities due to the disease. The lack of vaccination was that the individuals were not comfortable with the vaccine since it was associated with many types of side effects which were not desirable. However, the development of DTaP made this health crisis go down as there were efforts to make individuals accept this vaccine because it was better receiving the vaccine and having uncomfortable days due to the vaccine’s side effects than suffering the effects of the diseases. The difference between DPT and DTaP is that in the former, the pertussis component is acellular. It brings out fewer side effects, but it is more expensive than the DPT vaccine (Jana, & Osborn, 2013).

The drug is administered from 6 weeks from when a child is young to the time when they are six years through a five-dose series. The first phase is done between the 2nd, 4th, and 6th months with a separation period of between 6 and 8 weeks. The next phase is done within 15-20 months, while the rest is done between 4-6 years. However, in people where the vaccine brings about complications, it is advised that it is avoided. An example of a complication that can happen is the complication of a patient suffering from anaphylaxis. If the complication occurs due to tetanus toxoids, then a passive immunization using tetanus immune globulin is administered (HILTS, 1982).


The controversy of the vaccine was mainly advanced by a tv show produced by Reporter Lea Thompson of NBC. It caught the attention of most individuals, and this can be termed as the major source of the controversy even though there were doubts about the safety of the vaccine before. after the production of this episode on the vaccine and explaining how the vaccine was becoming dangerous to the children and how some even suffered from convulsions and seizures there was a public concern of the problems and issues reported. Doctors and especially pediatricians received very many calls from concerned parents, and there was general horror among parents and anyone concerned about the safety and peace of the children (Jana, & Osborn, 2013).

However, the defense from the doctors association was that it is true that the vaccine had side effects, but that did not mean that it was not effective since it had reduced the rate of infections of the diseases in question to a very low level. This meant that even though the individuals were very much concerned about the vaccine’s safety, there could be no other explanation. Lea had stated in her tv production that the mortality rate among the children who received this vaccine was one out of 700, which was not correct according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (Naile, 1989).

The television production came out in 1982, and this was, therefore, the beginning of the controversy about the accuracy and balance in the vaccine. It became a problem as the news was reported by national and local news channels, after which the doctors were flooded with calls from frightened and concerned parents. Even though there was a lot of fright among the parents, the national center for disease control and prevention and the American Academy of pediatricians continued to urge the parents to take their children for vaccination since it was very important (Naile, 1989). However, this did not bear much fruit as there were some parents whose children were believed to have been harmed by the vaccine. These parents even formed groups like the dissatisfied parents (DPT) and began criticizing and working on the issue by raising their voices against the side effects of the vaccine (Burke, 1987).


Even though it had several side effects and affected different people in different ways, this vaccine had its advantages and goodness. The government officials held that it was best for the parents not to lose their trust when it came to this vaccine and still support it because even if it was not in the best form which they promised to work on, it was very important in preventing the three diseases which were a big problem. Whooping cough, referred to as pertussis, was a disease that could lead to very high mortality rates. This was a difficult part of the government and the administration because they knew how important it was for this vaccinization to continue. Still, then there was fright spread all over, and it meant that for those who had not taken their children for the vaccination, they were not going to take them to be vaccinated (Di Mauro, 1990).

Therefore the argument of the vaccine and its effects and the controversy can be classified under the government and the general population of the united states. This is because both of these two groups of people approached this whole issue from a very different perspective and had different reasons for this. However, history also matters a lot when it comes to this controversy. This is because this vaccine brought about a lot of controversy even though it is not of very deep concern as there are other diseases and other issues concerned with the people and which have to be addressed. Therefore, this means that pertussis, tetanus, and diphtheria vaccination are not a big issue. After the outcry of the general population concerning the public, there was a development of better types of vaccinations that have been in use. This has been possible by modifying the vaccine that was being used then (Di Mauro, 1990).

On the side of the people, there was a very increased concern about what the vaccine could do to the kids and the people who received it. This came about after reported convulsions and other side effects, especially those that affected the mental health of the vaccinated individuals, especially the young kids. This meant that the rise in the concern for mental health was a very big problem, and therefore the people involved in this discussion had to be very careful not to cause tension. However, this was not held by all people, especially by the reporter Lea who made a television presentation about this vaccination and brought about terror and panic. This means that the people having questions about the vaccination had a withdrawing effect from the vaccine (Burke, 1987).

Even though some knew the danger with which the diseases could affect their children, they still never wanted to risk their children’s health by giving them a vaccine. They were not 100% sure that it would work but rather decided to stay at home with them. This increased the infection rate, which was a very big cause of mortality rate among the children. Therefore there had to be a solution to the issue because of the continued support of the vaccine and safer methods of administering and making sure that the vaccine did not affect the recipients adversely.

The government kept its faith and belief system firm even though it was very difficult to convince the individuals about the vaccine’s safety since some of them had already seen the negative effects of the vaccine. Even though magnified through the tv show, it was not the real state of affairs since those affected were fewer than concentrated and reported by reporter lea (Baker, 2003).


This vaccine even though it had its negative side effects which presented themselves differently, there is a chance that the government and the medical professionals were correct in that they continued to advise the people to take the vaccination since lack of providing or taking the vaccine of the young ones made it very difficult to manage whooping cough, and it led to many deaths later. Therefore the controversy was good and bad at the same time. It helped the vaccine be updated and made into the best vaccines and the different types available today. On the other side, the controversy made some of the lives of the children to be lost because they thought the vaccine was worse than the disease.


‌ Di Mauro, L. (1990). The DPT Vaccine Controversy: Medical and Legal Aspects. Def. Counsel J., 57, 490.

Baker, J. P. (2003). The pertussis vaccine controversy in Great Britain, 1974–1986. Vaccine, 21(25-26), 4003-4010.

Burke, J. M. (1987). DPT Vaccine Controversy: An Assessment of the Liabilities of Manufacturers and Administering Physicians Under Several Legal Theories. Seton Hall L. Rev., 17, 541.

HILTS, D. (1982, April 28). TV Report On Vaccine Stirs Bitter Controversy. The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/local/1982/04/28/tv-report-on-vaccine-stirs-bitter-controversy/80d1fc8a-1012-4732-a517-7976c86ab52d/

Jana, L. A., & Osborn, J. E. (2013). The history of vaccine challenges: conquering diseases, plagued by controversy. In Vaccinophobia and vaccine controversies of the 21st century (pp. 1-13). Springer, New York, NY.

Mnookin, S. (2012). The panic virus: The true story behind the vaccine-autism controversy. Simon and Schuster.

Naile, P. J. (1989). Tort liability for DPT vaccine injury and the preemption doctrine. Ind. L. Rev., 22, 655.