Pertussis vaccination policy varies across Europe, not only in the type of vaccine—whole cell (wP) vs. acellular (aP1/2/3/5)—but also in the schedule and recommendation for parents. This study aims to investigate the determining factors for the type of vaccine, immunization schedule and maternal immunization recommendation. From March to May 2019, experts in national health agencies and major academic or research institutions from Denmark, France, Poland, Sweden and the UK were invited to a semi-structured interview. Thematic analysis was performed on the transcripts using a codebook formulated by three coders. Inter-coder agreement was assessed. Fifteen expert interviews were conducted. The identified driving factors for pertussis vaccine policy were classified into three domains: scientific factors, sociological factors, and pragmatic factors. The determining factors for the type of vaccine were prescriber’s preference, concern of adverse events following immunization (AEFI), effectiveness, and consideration of other vaccine components in combined vaccines. The determining factors for infant schedule were immunity response and the potential to improve coverage and timeliness. The determining factors for maternal immunization were infant mortality and public acceptability. To conclude, socio-political and pragmatic factors were, besides scientific factors, important in determining the pertussis vaccine type, schedule of childhood immunization and recommendations for parents.
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