More Mothers Protecting Babies Before Birth

Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap) vaccines protect infants early in life
Dtap protection in utero  mom loving pregnant
(Precision Vaccinations)

A new study found a significant increase in the number of pregnant women who received a tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid and acellular pertussis vaccine, commonly known as Tdap.

The Morbidity and Mortality Weekly report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) presents research from Boston University’s Slone Epidemiology Center, which found that 51 percent of pregnant women in the control group of its Birth Defects Study received the Tdap vaccination.

This is an increase from 2013, when only 28 percent of pregnant women received the Tdap vaccination.

“Newborns at highest risk for pertussis-associated complications are too young to be vaccinated, but Tdap vaccination during pregnancy can reduce the potential for morbidity and mortality in this vulnerable population,” these researchers said.

Additionally, this study found the Tdap vaccination during the third trimester of pregnancy was 85 percent more effective than postpartum vaccination at preventing pertussis in infants aged younger than 2 months.

Almost all pertussis-associated deaths occur within the first 2 months of life, when these infants are too young to receive primary pertussis vaccinations.

To provide infants with indirect protection from pertussis, in 2006, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended postpartum Tdap administration to mothers.

In 2012, this ACIP recommendation was expanded to include all pregnant women during every pregnancy, with the optimal time for vaccination in the third trimester.

The CDC reported there is no evidence of adverse fetal effects from vaccinating pregnant women with an inactivated virus or bacterial vaccine or toxoid.

According to this research, 96 percent of the Tdap vaccines were administered in a traditional healthcare setting, such as obstetrician, primary care physician or prenatal clinic.

This means pharmacies and urgent care centers have an opportunity to expand their vaccination services with expectant mothers.

“We help family members welcoming a new baby to understand the importance of getting the Tdap vaccine to protect their newborn,” said Soni Bozeman, Pharm.D., a Clinical Pharmacist with Brookshires Grocery Pharmacy.

“We believe easy, affordable access to Tdap vaccines for parents and grandparents alike is key to decreasing the cases of whooping cough,” said Bozeman.

There are two kinds of Tdap vaccines, both are combined with vaccines for other diseases:

  • Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTaP) vaccines
  • Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap) vaccines

The current CDC vaccine price list can be found here. Most pharmacies offer these vaccines.

Discounts for vaccines can be found at this webpage.

Funding:  During the Birth Defects Study of the Slone Epidemiology Center at Boston University received funding from Seqirus, GSK, and Novartis. Carla Van Bennekom disclosed an honorarium from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. Allen Mitchell serves on an Independent Advisory Committee for Biogen’s Tecfidera Pregnancy Registry, and he disclosed personal fees from Biogen, outside submitted work. No other conflicts of interest were reported. The corresponding author: Stephen Kerr, [email protected]