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Roads to the development of improved pertussis vaccines paved by immunology. Brummelman Jolanda,Wilk Mieszko M,Han Wanda G H,van Els Cécile A C M,Mills Kingston H G Pathogens and disease Current acellular pertussis vaccines have various shortcomings, which may contribute to their suboptimal efficacy and waning immunity in vaccinated populations. This calls for the development of new pertussis vaccines capable of inducing long-lived protective immunity. Immunization with whole cell pertussis vaccines and natural infection with Bordetella pertussis induce distinct and more protective immune responses when compared with immunization with acellular pertussis vaccines. Therefore, the immune responses induced with whole cell vaccine or after infection can be used as a benchmark for the development of third-generation vaccines against pertussis. Here, we review the literature on the immunology of B. pertussis infection and vaccination and discuss the lessons learned that will help in the design of improved pertussis vaccines. 10.1093/femspd/ftv067