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Dr Marie Sartain
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CDC: Whooping cough vaccination during pregnancy benefits infants

New CDC research shows an association between lower rates of pertussis in newborns younger than age 2 months and tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap) vaccination during pregnancy.

Tdap vaccination, when administered during the third trimester of pregnancy, prevents more than 3 in 4 cases of whooping cough in babies younger than age 2 months, according to the findings.

This is the first time researchers have examined U.S. population level trends in infant pertussis cases since 2011, when Tdap vaccination during pregnancy was introduced to protect infants before their vaccinations begin. Newborn whooping cough rates have declined significantly since that time, the findings reveal.

“Getting Tdap during pregnancy offers infants the best protection before they are old enough to receive their whooping cough vaccines,” said Jose Romero, director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, in a CDC press release. “This protection is critical because those first few months are when infants are most likely to have serious complications, be hospitalized[,] or die if they get whooping cough.”

The findings, published February 6, 2023, in JAMA Pediatrics, were based on reports of infant whooping cough cases from 2000 through 2019.

“Everyone who is pregnant should feel confident in knowing that the Tdap vaccine is safe and effective,” said Linda Eckert, MD, from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, in the CDC press release. “Knowing that Tdap vaccination during pregnancy protects [9] 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.”

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