Tuesday, June 28, 2011

CDC urges pregnant women to get whooping cough vaccine

CDC- Pregnant women should be vaccinated against the whooping cough, an advisory panel for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday. It recommended that the vaccination be given in the late second or third trimester.

The endorsement was a change from the panel's previous recommendation to wait until immediately after women give birth.

In addition, the panel also recommended that teens and adults in close contact with newborns receive a single dose of the vaccine if they had not received it previously, in order to form a "cocoon" of immunity to protect newborns until they're old enough to be fully vaccinated themselves.

The panel also voted to recommend that a vaccine against meningitis, which is a life-threatening bacterial infection, be given to high-risk infants when they are only 9 months old.

The advantage to vaccinating pregnant women against whooping cough, which is also known as pertussis, is that they may pass the antibodies against the disease to the fetus so that it has some protection upon birth, said Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. In addition, the woman would be protected for a longer period, Schaffner said.

Whooping cough Infants younger than 6 months are most at risk of dying from pertussis and receive vaccinations at the ages of 2, 4 and 6 months through the diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DtaP) series of shots. But some infants develop the condition before their shots.

Doctors want to "cocoon" infants by vaccinating the adults around them who might transmit the disease, Dr. Edgar Marcuse, professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine, said in an interview yesterday.

The recommendations won't help unless adults actually get their vaccinations, said Dr. Paul Offit, a pediatric infectious disease expert at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. In an outbreak last year of 10,000 cases in California, resulting in 10 infant deaths, only 6 percent of adults living with children were vaccinated, Offit said.

After reviewing evidence, the panel concluded the vaccine was safe to give during the later months of pregnancy. However, there was some concern that vaccinating mothers could interfere with how newborn babies respond to the vaccinations.

Pertussis is a bacterial infection of the respiratory tract that causes severe coughing, according to the National Network for Immunization Information. The coughing makes it difficult to breathe, and a "whooping" sound is sometimes heard when the child tries to breathe.

Passport Health carries the Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis vaccine nation-wide.  


  1. Agree! Pregnant women must have this vaccine to be more protected.

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