Safety of TDAP Vaccine in Pregnant Women Who Have Prior Tetanus Vaccination Interview with:
Dr.Lakshmi Sukumaran MD, MPH
Immunization Safety Office, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Department of Pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine
Atlanta, Georgia

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Sukumaran: Pertussis (whooping cough) is a vaccine-preventable disease that has been increasing in incidence over the past decade in the United States. Newborns and infants are at increased risk of pertussis-related hospitalization and death compared with older children and adults. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that pregnant women receive a tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid and acellular pertussis vaccine (Tdap) during each pregnancy to protect her infant from pertussis disease, regardless of prior immunization status. However, there is limited data on the safety of repeated Tdap vaccines in pregnant women. Our study evaluated medically attended (associated with doctor visit or hospitalization) adverse events in mothers, such as fever, allergy and local reactions, and adverse birth outcomes, such as prematurity and low birth weight in newborns, in women receiving Tdap in pregnancy who had received a prior tetanus-containing vaccine. We found no significant differences in rates of these adverse outcomes in women who received Tdap in pregnancy following a prior tetanus-containing vaccine less than 2 years before, 2 to 5 years before, and more than 5 years before.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Sukumaran: Patients and clinicians who might be hesitant to give Tdap vaccine to pregnant women who recently received a Tdap or other tetanus-containing vaccination should be reassured and should follow the ACIP recommendation to administer the vaccine during each pregnancy.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Sukumaran: Future research is needed to determine if there are differences in other important adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as stillbirth and spontaneous abortion in women who receive Tdap vaccine in pregnancy in close intervals from prior tetanus-containing vaccines.


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Dr.Lakshmi Sukumaran MD, MPH (2015). Safety of TDAP Vaccine in Pregnant Women Who Have Prior Tetanus Vaccination 

Last Updated on October 21, 2015 by Marie Benz MD FAAD