HLSC122: Inquiry in Health Care - Pertussis Vaccine and Infant Mortality - Assessment Answers

January 10, 2018
Author : Charles Hill

Solution Code: 1ABEH

Question: Inquiry in Health Care

This assignment falls under “Inquiry in Health Care” which was successfully solved by the assignment writing experts at My Assignment Services AU under assignment help service.

Inquiry in Health Care Case Study Assignment

Case Scenario

Farah returned home from a hospital two days after giving birth to a baby boy, Rami. Rami, is now 2 weeks old and is a happy and healthy baby who is feeding well. Farah is receiving post-natal care from her general practitioner who talked to her at her last visit about immunization for Rami. Farah is aware that there is quite a lot of community debate about whether to immunize or not. Farah decides she needs to know more about the risks of immunization before she makes a final decision.

Answerable question

In infants, how does being immunized against pertussis, compared with not being immunized, effect morbidity and mortality?

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Vaccination or vaccines are considered as one of the most low cost, accessible and high impact health measure. Different vaccines for infants save their lives and also decrease infant mortality rates. According to WHO (World Health Organization), vaccinations are very essential to fight infectious diseases and greatly reduced the burden of infectious diseases globally. Vaccination is a part of preventive care and works as an important strategy to prevent many diseases in infants and children. Pertussis is a disease that mainly occurs in infants and young children. It is a preventable disease and risk of this disease can be reduced by vaccination.

Risk of Pertussis and Vaccination

According to the report of Royal Collage of Pathologists of Australia (2012), in 19th and 20th century childhood death rate was high, and most common cause was preventable infectious diseases, such as Pertussis (Immunisation and Vaccine Preventable Diseases, 2016). But, with vaccinations of preventable diseases, deaths from such diseases have been reduced dramatically. In the past 2 decades, the rates have been highly reduced by successful by vaccination. Pertussis is an acute infectious disease, which occurs due to the bacteria, Bordetella pertussis. Pertussis is still a serious threat to health of infants.

Pertussis, which is also called as ‘whooping cough’ results in 1% mortality in infants. Vaccination for Pertussis has helped in reducing the mortality rate to a large extent, still with high immunization rates, the outbreak of Pertussis could not be denied. Pertussis IgA antibody testing was carried out in Australia in 1990’s (Immunisation and Vaccine Preventable Diseases, 2016). This study suggested that in children and adult, the disease is mainly atypical and was not considered till 2 to 3 weeks. Such findings resulted in awareness that it is atypical infection, which results in waning immunity. Thus, it was concluded that “it is a potential reservoir of infection of unimmunized infants and the need for boosters every 10 years.” The new acellular vaccines in Australia contain antigens such as “contains pertussis toxin, filamentous haemagglutinin and pertactin” (Immunisation and Vaccine Preventable Diseases, 2016), while in other countries it only contains agglutinogens.

Thus, this vaccine is very useful and can be safely given to children and as booster in later age. The primary vaccine includes 3 doses of diphtheria–tetanus–acellular pertussis (DTPa) (Quinn et al, 2014). This vaccine is recommended for the infants in age of 2, 4 and 6 months. As per the high morbidity and mortality rate, the vaccine can be given to 6 week old infants (Quinn et al, 2014). The newborns are not considered to be immune till the time they are immunized with proper vaccine. This is an infectious disease, and when adult sufferings from whooping cough come in contact with the infant, then infection can be transferred to the child.

Thus, it is important that infants are vaccinated with DTPa vaccine and must be kept away from the people suffering from Pertussis till the time they are not immunized. According to the report of Immunize Australia Program (2016), infants are at the highest risk of getting infected with this infectious disease, because their immunity is very low. Immunization against Pertussis in comparison to not being immunized affect the morbidity and mortality to a great extent. According to the study of Tiwari, Baughman, & Clark (2015), most of the infant deaths are recorder in the infants less than six weeks old. And, infants who have received their first done of vaccine were protected against death. The risk and burden of the disease was reduced by immunization.

However, the studies have revealed that effectiveness of the vaccine reduces from 2 years of age and remains approximately 50% at the age of 4 years (Quinn et al, 2014). In the older children also similar decline has been found. Therefore, immunization is very important for infants to save them from infection of Pertussis; however the relative decline in the later years can be covered by booster vaccines. When the children are immunized, the chances of getting infected by the transmission of infection are diminished. The unimmunized infants and children are highest risk of getting affected by infectious diseases, and dramatic decreases have been recorded in the morality of the infants by widespread use of vaccines. According to the study of Winter et al. (2015), early recognition of Pertussis and treatment with appropriate antibiotics and vaccines are important.


Infant and newborns are at highest risk of getting infected by infectious diseases, like Pertussis. Pertussis is also called as whooping cough. It is a kind of respiratory infection that results in coughing. Infants could also suffer from pneumonia due to long time coughing illness. According to many different studies, it has been found that immunization of Pertussis is effective in saving children from fatal risks and morbidities. Children, who are not immunized, are at greater risk of being infected by unimmunized adults. Thus, by immunization there has been significant decrease in infant mortality and morbidity. Due to low immunity, infants can get extremely sick, but proper vaccination at early stage can save infants.

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