Does Prenatal Tdap Vaccine Protect Infants From Pertussis?
Pertussis (whooping cough) can be especially dangerous early in life and is a recognized cause of infant death. Pertussis rates are increasing due to multiple factors, including changes in the newer vaccine formulations. This study by Baxter et al. (Pediatrics, 2017) aimed to determine if the tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid, acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccine administered during pregnancy protects infants before the first dose of diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis (DTaP) vaccine. The newborns were followed for a year to assess if there was any protection after receiving their recommended DTaP vaccines at the recommended ages (2,4 and 6 months).
Retrospective Cohort Study
148,981 newborns who received DTaP vaccine during their first year of life were included in the study. During the first two months of life the maternal Tdap vaccine was 91.4% effective (95% confidence interval [CI], 19.5 to 99.1). Effectiveness was 69.0% (95% CI, 43.6 to 82.9) during the first year of life. Maternal Tdap effectiveness was 87.9% (95% CI, 41.4 to 97.5) before infant vaccination with DTaP. Effectiveness of maternal Tdap was 81.4% (95% CI, 42.5 to 94.0) between doses one and two, 6.4% (95% CI, −165.1 to 66.9) between doses two and three, and 65.9% (95% CI, 4.5 to 87.8) following infant exposure to all three doses. These data show that even following infant’s DTaP vaccination, there was still protection from the maternal Tdap vaccination. These results support the current CDC recommendation to administer Tdap during pregnancy, and provide strong evidence that prenatal vaccination protects infants throughout their first year of life.
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