The place of whole cell pertussis vaccines in paediatric immunisation schedules is under re-evaluation by public health authorities in many countries, with the expectation that the newly licensed acellular Bordetella pertussis vaccines will induce fewer adverse events while providing equivalent efficacy. In France, for instance, the CSHPF (Conseil supérieur d'hygiène public de France) recently modified its long-standing recommendation that French children only receive whole cell pertussis vaccine. Consequently, an acellular pertussis vaccine may be used for the first booster, at 16-18 months of age, and should be used for the reinforcing dose at 11-13 y of age. French children, nonetheless, continue to receive whole cell pertussis vaccine for the primary series immunisations at 2, 3, and 4 months, as the only whole cell pertussis vaccine available in France (licensed by Aventis Pasteur) has a long-established record of safety and protective efficacy. A review of its unpublished and published clinical results, obtained from studies throughout the world, demonstrates an efficacy of from 84-100% in six different retrospective analyses or outbreak investigations and a protective efficacy of 92% by clinical trial.