A number of mainly observational studies suggest that many African females below the age of one year die each year from the nonspecific effects of vaccination with diphtheria-tetanus toxoids and killed (whole-cell) Bordetella pertussis (DTwP). In contrast, similar studies suggest that many African females and males may have their lives saved each year by the nonspecific immunological benefits of Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccination. From an immunological point of view, we hypothesise that the adverse effects of DTwP vaccine may occur because of the Th2-polarising effect of the aluminium phosphate adjuvant in the vaccine and because intramuscular administration of the vaccine may cause chronic inflammation at the site of injection. However, the Th1-polarising effect of BCG is likely to be beneficial. Sexual dimorphism affecting immune functions and vitamin A supplementation may influence both the deleterious and beneficial nonspecific effects of immunisation. Copyright © 2011 Mogens Helweg Claesson.
Claesson, M. H. (2011). Immunological links to nonspecific effects of DTwP and BCG vaccines on infant mortality. Journal of Tropical Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1155/2011/706304