Moms-to-be should get pertussis vaccine

Feb. 23, 2013 at 4:50 PM
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ATLANTA, Feb. 23 (UPI) -- U.S. health officials say women should get whooping cough vaccine every time they are pregnant, to protect infants.

In the past, women and those who have contact with an infant were advised to get a Tetanus, Diphtheria and Acellular Pertussis vaccine every 10 years.

The vaccine will protect the mother at time of delivery, making her less likely to transmit pertussis to her infant, officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

The report, published in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, says a woman vaccinated with Tdap during pregnancy will pass on maternal pertussis antibodies to her baby, which may provide protection against pertussis in early life -- before the infant begins the primary DTaP series.

DTaP is a vaccine that helps children age 7 and younger develop immunity to diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough. Tdap is the booster used by older children and adults.

Other family members and close contacts such as parents, siblings and grandparents should be vaccinated at least two weeks before contact with an infant, the CDC says.

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