WASHINGTON — A study published Monday from the CDC suggests that Tdap vaccination during pregnancy helps protect newborns from whooping cough during their first two months of life.
Whooping cough, or pertussis, is highly contagious and can cause serious illness for people of all ages but can be especially dangerous for babies. Most of the whooping cough deaths each year are in babies younger than 3 months old, according to the CDC.
Tdap, which is a combination of three vaccines that protect against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, has been recommended during pregnancy for more than a decade.
According to Monday's announcement, the new study is the first time researchers looked at U.S. population level trends in infant whooping cough cases since this vaccine strategy began in 2011.
The study found that after maternal Tdap vaccine introduction, there was a sustained decrease in whooping cough incidence observed among infants younger than 2 months.
“Everyone who is pregnant should feel confident in knowing that the Tdap vaccine is safe and effective,” said Dr. Linda Eckert, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ liaison to CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. “Knowing that Tdap vaccination during pregnancy protects nine in 10 babies from being hospitalized with whooping cough, I strongly recommend this vaccine to all my pregnant patients for their peace of mind and for their family’s health and well-being.”
The CDC said the findings support the agency's recommendation for Tdap vaccination during weeks 27-36 of each pregnancy. Additionally, all people in close contact with infants should be up to date with their whooping cough vaccines.