Timely Pertussis Vaccination Important For Preventing Infant Deaths

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Tejpratap S.P. Tiwari, MD
Meningitis and Bacterial Vaccine Preventable Diseases Branch
Division of Bacterial Diseases
National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases
Division of Global HIV/AIDS, Center for Global Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
Atlanta, Georgia

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

Dr. Tiwari: Infants younger than one year old in the United States are at highest risk for severe outcomes from pertussis and death. The first childhood pertussis vaccine dose is recommended at 2 months old, with additional doses in the first year of life at 4 and 6 months. Studies have established that pertussis vaccines can protect against pertussis disease, complications, and hospitalization in infants when 1 to 3 doses are administered by six months old. This study’s findings suggest that the first pertussis vaccine dose and appropriate antibiotic treatment protect infants against death, hospitalization, and pneumonia. Improved on-time infant vaccination (at 2, 4, and 6 months) could potentially prevent up to 1 out of every 4 infant pertussis deaths.

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

Dr. Tiwari: Clinicians should ensure timeliness of the first pertussis vaccine dose at 2 months to help prevent infant pertussis death. Additional efforts to protect infants who are too young for vaccination also need to be prioritized. This can be done by reinforcing the recent Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommendation for use of the pertussis vaccine called Tdap during the third trimester of each pregnancy, so that mothers may pass on antibodies to their babies to help protect them until they are old enough for their own immunization. For more information about maternal Tdap vaccination, visit www.cdc.gov/pertussis/pregnant.

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

Dr. Tiwari: In this study, 24% of nonfatal infant cases and 64% of infant deaths occurred among infants who were too young to receive the first childhood pertussis vaccine dose. This highlights the importance of protect these infants through vaccination recommendations for pregnant women in the United States as well as the need to assess how to best to protect those most vulnerable to pertussis complications and death.


First Pertussis Vaccine Dose and Prevention of Infant Mortality

Tejpratap S.P. Tiwari, Andrew L. Baughman, and Thomas A. Clark

Pediatrics peds.2014-2291; published ahead of print May 4, 2015, doi:10.1542/peds.2014-229

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Tejpratap S.P. Tiwari, MD (2015). Timely Pertussis Vaccination Important For Preventing Infant Deaths