TDAP Vaccine During Pregnancy Prevents Whooping Cough In Young Babies Interview with:
Tami H Skoff Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Atlanta, Georgia
Tami H Skoff
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Atlanta, Georgia What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Infants are at greatest risk for severe pertussis (whooping cough) morbidity and mortality, especially during the first months of life before infant immunizations begin.  CDC and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) currently recommend that women receive a dose of Tdap during the third trimester of each pregnancy.  This recommendation has been in place since 2012.  By getting Tdap, pregnant women pass critical short-term protection to their unborn babies. This helps protect babies until they are old enough to start getting their own whooping cough vaccines at 2 months of age.

The purpose of our study was to evaluate the effectiveness of maternal Tdap during pregnancy at preventing whooping cough in infants <2 months of age.

In our evaluation, Tdap administration during the third trimester of pregnancy prevented more than 3 in 4 (78%) infant cases.  Additionally, Tdap vaccination during pregnancy was even more effective (90%) at preventing whooping cough serious enough that the baby had to get treatment in a hospital. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Tdap vaccination for pregnant women is an effective way to prevent whooping cough in babies under the age of two months.  Getting Tdap during pregnancy is the most important action a pregnant woman can take to help protect her baby from whooping cough and its complications during their first few months of life.  Babies are most at risk of catching and dying from whooping cough. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response:   We should continue to monitor the effectiveness of the maternal Tdap vaccination during pregnancy to ensure that the strategy remains effective at preventing whooping cough among infants <2 months of age.

Evaluations should also be done to look at the effectiveness of maternal Tdap vaccination during pregnancy at preventing disease among infants older than 2 months of age. Infants do not start their whooping cough immunizations until 2 months of age and do not build up high levels of protection against whooping cough until after they receive their third dose of vaccine at 6 months of age. Although maternal antibodies passed to the infants are thought to wane quickly, early studies suggest that they may provide some protection against whooping cough for a short period of time beyond 2 months of age. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: A recent survey estimates that only about half (49%) of pregnant women in the United States are currently taking advantage of this life-saving tool and getting vaccinated with Tdap during pregnancy.  With a continuing resurgence in whooping cough, efforts should focus on the promotion of maternal immunization through provider and patient education in order to increase Tdap uptake among pregnant women ( 

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Impact of the US Maternal Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Acellular Pertussis Vaccination Program on Preventing Pertussis in Infants <2 Months of Age: A Case-Control Evaluation

Tami H Skoff Amy E Blain James Watt Karen ScherzingerMelissa McMahon Shelley M Zansky Kathy Kudish Paul R CieslakMelissa Lewis Nong Shang … Show more

Clinical Infectious Diseases, cix724,
28 September 2017

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions. 

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Last Updated on October 3, 2017 by Marie Benz MD FAAD