Whooping cough vaccine recommended for all pregnant women
October 24th, 2012
03:26 PM ET

Whooping cough vaccine recommended for all pregnant women

A federal advisory committee is recommending all pregnant women be immunized for pertussis or whooping cough.

The Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices (ACIP) for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention met Wednesday and voted 14 to 0, with one abstention, to recommend health care providers begin immunizations programs for Tdap.  This is a vaccine that provides protection against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough).

The committee says the vaccine should be administered during each pregnancy in the late second or third trimester (27 to 36 weeks gestation), regardless of whether the patient has had Tdap in the past. If that's not possible, the mother should receive the vaccine immediately after childbirth or before leaving the hospital or birthing center.  Jennifer Liang, a member of the ACIP pertussis vaccine working group, told the committee the vaccine is very safe in all trimesters and could be given at any time during pregnancy.

“This is a great opportunity for obstetricians to help their patients protect their newborns and themselves," said Dr. Richard Beigi, member of American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists  immunization work group and the ACIP’s pertussis working group. "I urge all obstetricians to recommend and give Tdap vaccine to their pregnant patients.”

Pertussis, also called whooping cough because of the whooping sound made when the patient breathes, is a highly contagious upper respiratory disease caused by bacteria.  Initially it resembles the common cold, but patients experience uncontrollable, violent coughing.  It's considered extremely serious in infants and can cause permanent disability and death.

Medical experts say getting the vaccine during pregnancy allows the mother to transfer pertussis antibodies to the newborn. That helps protect the infant until it is old enough to get vaccinated against whooping cough.  The whooping cough vaccination is usually is given at 2 months of age.  The vaccine also protects the mother during delivery, making it much less likely she'll transmit whooping cough to the baby in the first place.

ACIP says safety data show Tdap is safe for both the mother and fetus and that any potential risks are likely to be small.  The most common side effects reported were pain, redness and swelling at the site of the injection.  Fever, headache and muscle pain were also reported, but there were no serious adverse events linked to the vaccine.

This new recommendation builds on ACIP's recommendation in 2011 to only give the vaccine to pregnant women who had never had Tdap in the past.  ACIP determined a single dose of Tdap during a pregnancy was not enough to provide protection for additional pregnancies.

According to the CDC, the United States is seeing a jump in the number of reported cases of pertussis.  More than 32,000 cases and 16 deaths have already been documented this year, most of those in infants. It's the largest number since 1959.

soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. Germanicus

    Get it.

    I had Whooping Cough back in college and it was horrific. Coughing until there was no more air in your lungs and then your diaphram still spasms until you almost pass out from lack of O2. Coughing until you vomit and spit up blood. This lasted almost 8 months. Get the vaccine.

    October 24, 2012 at 15:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. medschoolkid

    The reason more deaths are occurring is because people are not getting this vaccine. Get this vaccine for sure. Its cheap and effective and it saves lives. Remember vaccines create herd immunity. If just a few mothers opt out that greatly increases the chance of infection for every newborn in the labor and delivery ward.

    October 24, 2012 at 18:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Naples

    I had a baby 8 months ago and I refuse to get any type of vaccinations for him. ZERO. I am on welfare and I know that they will not cost anything, but I still refuse. I was is Washington for 4 months, supposedly a State with a high rate of Whooping cough and we are just fine. Vaccines are overrated and I will never give my child a shot of any foreign material.

    October 24, 2012 at 20:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mitch

      ^^^^perfect example of poor parenting and being proud of it^^^^^^

      October 24, 2012 at 23:05 | Report abuse |
    • medschoolkid

      So when your kid has strep throat you won't let the doctor give him a penicillin shot? Instead you will sit and wait until it progresses into scarlet fever or glomerulonephritis. Please learn the facts about modern medicine and the benefits of vaccines.

      October 24, 2012 at 23:46 | Report abuse |
    • kylie

      Sweetie, your baby is protected by something called "herd immunity". It means that your baby is surrounded by people who are immune to this disease. Being surrounded like that protects him because the disease cannot jump from person to person like it normally would. This, however, does not mean that your son is immune. Take him somewhere where the disease is prevalent and your son will contract it. And he might quite possible end up dying because of your selfishness.

      October 25, 2012 at 09:31 | Report abuse |
    • Cleopatra1981

      Naples, are you from Naples, FL? I am.

      October 25, 2012 at 10:42 | Report abuse |
    • Leo

      People like you shouldn't be allowed to have children. You're putting your child at UNNECESSARY RISK for DISEASE, DISABILITY, and DEATH. It's child abuse. Maybe you'll be lucky. Maybe your kid will never get sick. Or... maybe your kid will be damaged or killed because of a preventable disease. I feel bad for your kid. I pray you don't have any more.

      October 25, 2012 at 13:21 | Report abuse |
    • pdxmum

      Leo, she's on welfare. Of course she'll have more children. I love how someone like this who is clearly uneducated thinks she has some special wisdom the rest of normal society doesn't.

      Then again, there's always the thin hope that she's trolling. Her spelling is quite good for someone on welfare.

      October 25, 2012 at 16:35 | Report abuse |
    • SixDegrees

      OK. One less welfare baby to worry about, then.

      October 26, 2012 at 13:19 | Report abuse |
    • SixDegrees

      " You're putting your child at UNNECESSARY RISK for DISEASE, DISABILITY, and DEATH."

      True. But given mom's extreme lack of intelligence and its probable genetic link, I'm not as concerned about that as about the risk she is putting OTHER PEOPLE'S CHILDREN in – children who, for a small number of legitimate reasons, are not able to be vaccinated.

      October 26, 2012 at 13:27 | Report abuse |
    • H H

      "Putting your child at unnecessary risk of disability" by not giving them a vax in utero?? I am disabled BECAUSE of a vax. I got the DPT vax, and lost hearing. Yes, that's "rare." I do not find that comforting. Former Miss America Heather Whitestone also lost her hearing as a result of vaccination.

      October 26, 2012 at 22:27 | Report abuse |
    • SixDegrees

      "I am disabled BECAUSE of a vax. I got the DPT vax, and lost hearing. "

      Then you are a singular anomaly. I can find no references at all to cases of hearing loss caused by DPT vaccine. I did find several websites making such claims, but frankly they are less than believable. It shouldn't be hard to produce a reference to a study in a peer-reviewed journal to back up such claims – except that there aren't any.

      October 27, 2012 at 09:09 | Report abuse |
  4. VladT

    Another article perpetuating how big the Illuminati is secretly in dark rooms planning on how to control us with these "vaccines." Thank heaven we have pioneers like Jenny McCarthy to stand up to these evil illuminati. That they would put poisons in our body full of ingredients that I have no idea what they are or how the body reacts to them is ludicrous. I don't know if they work or not, but since Dr. Wakefield knows the best way to bring down the Big Pharma/Illuminati conglomerate is to make up data and tell us how the vaccine ingedients have big scary names.....
    Uh oh, a knock on my door, and they sound angry. Though they may do me in now for spreading the truth about their world reaching goals to give everyone Autism, ADHD, and Painful Rectal Itch Syndrome, I know my time is up. Spread my story, before its too late........

    October 25, 2012 at 09:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Julie B

      Jenny Mcarthy has surely slowed down in her momentum to spread her experience. Do you think that is because science is proving her wrong?

      October 25, 2012 at 14:20 | Report abuse |
    • SixDegrees

      Washed up pole dancer Jenny McCarthy doesn't need science to prove her wrong. The ONLY published claim of a link between vaccines and autism has been withdrawn and its author charged with using it to perpetrate a fraud against a vaccine company and commit another through promotion of another company he held a controlling interest in; all of his coauthors have repudiated their findings due to the fraudulent data provided by this criminal.

      And even better: After several years dragging her son around as a stage prop and claiming he had autism, it turned out – when he was finally examined by actual doctors – that he had a completely different – and treatable – ailment. He has now been cured of that, and never had autism in the first place.

      October 26, 2012 at 13:23 | Report abuse |
  5. DontBelieveBigPharma

    No way in hell would I take a vaccine while I was pregnant. NO WAY.

    I am college educated with a master's degree, and I work in the healthcare field. You couldn't pay me a million dollars to subject my unborn baby to that crap.

    October 26, 2012 at 16:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • medschoolkid

      Just because you are college educated and work in healthcare doesn't mean you have a scientific background or adequate understanding of the way the Tdap works.

      October 26, 2012 at 17:07 | Report abuse |
    • VladT

      So do I.....but it is related to Business Health, though technically still a healthcare degree. See what I did there????

      October 27, 2012 at 09:02 | Report abuse |
    • 530shasta

      Ok, I have to put in my two sense on this issue. To the mom on welfare I agree with you. People, just because she is on welfare doesn't mean she is uneducated.,,,it's a tough economy so I hope thats only a temp. situation so let's put that a side and address the real issue.I have a medical background and I question vaccines myself. After all, do you really know what you are getting when you are injected with a vaccine? No... you really don't and I bet most people on here don't even really understand what a vaccine is. A vaccine contains a weaker version of the ailment that you are actually trying to prevent in the first place in hopes that your body will build an immune response. So does it really make sense to inject yourself with TB or small pox if you are trying to prevent it? I've had all kinds of vaccines to work in the medical field and am now sicker than ever. I have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, cfs and mixed connective tissue disease. Now am I saying there is a definite connection...no. Do I think there might be...yes. Well that and I feel like healthcare in general in the U.S. is horrible. It's all about the bottom dollar not about patient care. I had to get out of this corrupt business... because that's exactly what it is, a business. The more patients you push through that door the more money you make.

      July 2, 2013 at 01:47 | Report abuse |
  6. Jennifer

    Please get vaccinated. Duh. Why wouldn't you?

    October 26, 2012 at 20:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. H H

    I lost part of my hearing from a DPT vax at the age of 9. No way I'd risk doing this to a fetus in uter....especially when they don't want pregnant women to take meds when they're sick!! But they can get a vax????

    October 26, 2012 at 22:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • VladT

      I work with pregnant women in my field all the time.....what's this about them never taking meds?

      Oh wait, we are playing the Jenny Mccarthy game....make a baseless claim, and hope people believe it

      October 27, 2012 at 09:04 | Report abuse |
    • SixDegrees

      No, you didn't.

      October 27, 2012 at 09:09 | Report abuse |
  8. memoe

    Seems strange the Mennonites and Amish (no vaccines) seem to be doing fine if not better than the English when it comes to health related issues.

    October 31, 2012 at 17:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. memoe

    In the old days we swabbed our throats with Mercurochrome at the first sign of Strep. And we cured whooping cough with colloidal silver. Now they have both been taken off the market and the modern Antibiotic at twenty times the cost has taken their place. Anyone wonder if it’s because the old remedies worked. No profit in a tiny little bottle of Mercurochrome or a tiny little bottle of colloidal silver.

    November 2, 2012 at 19:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. mybonusfamily

    I find it funny that there are two or three people on this thread that are responding to comments telling people that they are wrong and proceeding to tell them why they have no business making claims about their credentials when they themselves have given zero proof that they have any medical knowledge, experience, or children. How do you expect to be taken seriously if you respond to everything my name calling and insinuating that a child born to a woman on welfare deserves to die???? A pregnant woman has to microwave sandwich meat, don't you think that injecting herself with a vaccine that contains formaldehyde seems like a bad idea? Yes. It does. There is no proof that it is safer for mother and baby to give it to a pregnant woman during pregnancy than postpartum, if you are that concerned about it then get your entire immediate family immunized while pregnant and then immunize yourself postpartum. Being a mother means protecting your child, if its not proven to be safe then you don't typically do it!
    and many more....

    November 7, 2012 at 16:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Marina

      You must be post call Whereas 12 percent of persstuis cases occurred in children whose parents refused vaccination, only 0.5 percent of the noninfected cases occurred in unvaccinated children. I am guessing you meant that 12% of children whose parents refused vaccination were infected, whereas only 0.5 percent of vaccinated children got persstuis?also Because immunity against persstuis declines with age, adults are also advised to receive the diphtheria vaccine good piece though and timely, especially as Oprah is under fire for giving a platform to pseudoscience peddlers like Jenny McCarthy with vaccines/autism.

      November 14, 2012 at 21:42 | Report abuse |
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