Why preg­nant women need Tdap vac­cine

The Hamilton Spectator - - HEALTH - MAYO CLINIC NEWS NET­WORK

Preg­nant women who re­ceive the per­tus­sis (whoop­ing cough) vac­cine have ba­bies who are less likely to suf­fer from this highly con­ta­gious res­pi­ra­tory tract in­fec­tion dur­ing their first year of life, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent study.

The study found that wide­spread use of diphtheria, tetanus and acel­lu­lar per­tus­sis booster vac­cine (Tdap) in preg­nant moth­ers can de­crease new­born per­tus­sis sig­nif­i­cantly.

Dr. Gre­gory Poland, direc­tor of the Mayo Clinic Vac­cine Re­search Group, calls the find­ings very im­por­tant.

“What this study did is looked at over 150,000 births and looked at per­tus­sis cases,” says Poland. “We have wide­spread per­tus­sis through­out the U.S. — tens of thou­sands of cases ev­ery year. When a new­born baby gets per­tus­sis, about 1 per cent of them die. About 50 per cent of them end up in the hospi­tal with se­ri­ous com­pli­ca­tions.

“What the study found is that 90 per cent of these ba­bies were fully pro­tected. That is, the vac­cine ef­fi­cacy was 90 per cent in that new­born time pe­riod, which is the riski­est time pe­riod. When you go out one year, 70 per cent of those ba­bies were pro­tected. That might not sound like a high num­ber, but re­mem­ber that, when you get that dose as a baby at two months, four months, now you’re pro­tected. So even for 12 months, giv­ing a dose to the mother in preg­nancy pro­tected that baby.”

Per­tus­sis is a bac­te­rial res­pi­ra­tory in­fec­tion that causes se­vere spells of cough­ing that can in­ter­fere with breath­ing. Per­tus­sis also can cause pneu­mo­nia, long-last­ing bron­chi­tis, seizures, brain dam­age and death.

“We pro­tect the chil­dren through get­ting them im­mu­nized but im­mu­niz­ing our­selves and, par­tic­u­larly, the preg­nant mother who’s go­ing to have such close con­tact with that baby. We kind of call it a co­coon­ing strat­egy,” Poland says. “So ev­ery­body round that new­born baby, we want to be sure they are im­mu­nized against this. Now, this is not a dif­fi­cult thing to do. For adults that were im­mu­nized in child­hood, the rec­om­men­da­tion is one time in your life you get Tdap. The only ex­cep­tion is if you’re a preg­nant mom. Then, you get it with ev­ery preg­nancy to en­sure that we pro­tect that child.”


Preg­nant women who re­ceive the whoop­ing cough vac­cine have ba­bies who are less likely to suf­fer from it dur­ing their first year: study.

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