OPTIMUM: OPTimising IMmunisation Using Mixed schedules

The OPTIMUM study is looking to determine whether one dose of 'whole cell' pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine given at two months of age instead of the current 'acellular' pertussis vaccine can help protect young children against allergic outcomes.

The number of children suffering from food allergies appears to have risen greatly in the last 20 years with 3 in every 10 Australian children developing either a food-related allergy or eczema. 
Vaccines work by training the immune system to recognise what certain germs look like. Researchers believe some vaccines might also help to prevent allergy by making the immune system less likely to react to things that are not harmful, like food. 

In the OPTIMUM Study, babies will be randomly assigned to receive either one dose of whole cell whooping cough vaccine at two months of age, followed by two doses of acellular vaccine, or just have the usual schedule of three doses of the acellular whooping cough vaccine. 
Participants in the study will be followed up until they are around 18 or 19 months old to try and find out if babies who received the 'whole cell' vaccine are less likely to develop allergic conditions such as food allergy or eczema.

  • Participation will be for 19 months and will include three or four visits to the study clinic, starting when your baby receives their first vaccinations at 6-12 weeks of age.
  • All babies will be assessed for possible allergies by undergoing a skin prick test at 12 months of age. If children are found to have a reaction to the skin prick test they may undergo an oral food challenge to confirm any possible food allergy.


You may be eligible to participate in this study if you meet the following:

Participants MUST be:

  • Healthy babies aged 6-12 weeks of age (born after 32 weeks gestation)

Participants MUST NOT have:

  • Serious medical issues
  • Diagnosed food allergies
  • Received their 6-8 week vaccines

How to participate

If you are interested in assisting with this important and exciting area of research, and are currently pregnant or have just had a baby; please contact the study facilitator in your region:

Phone: 0400 450 240 
Email: OPTIMUM@telethonkids.org.au 
Web: https://infectiousdiseases.telethonkids.org.au/our-research/vaccine-trials-group/current-studies/optimum-study/ 

Phone: 0403 292 554
Email: optimum@mcri.edu.au 
Web: https://www.mcri.edu.au/research/projects/optimum-study 

Phone: 0423 799 327
Email: SCHN-OPTIMUM@health.nsw.gov.au