HONOLULU (KHON2) — Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is extremely contagious. This is particularly true for infants who are not old enough to be vaccinated.

Prior to the introduction of the diphtheria, tetanus toxoid and whole-cell pertussis [DTP] vaccine in 1948, hundreds of thousands of U.S. residents died from whooping cough.

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Once the vaccine became a standard inoculation for children, whooping cough cases plummeted. They did not disappear, but the impact of this disease became much less severe.

However, over the last few years with anti-vaccination sentiment spreading amongst many, whooping cough is making a resurgence. Sadly, it is the children who pay for this.

Now, the Centers for Disease Control has published a new study that provides greater information on the impact of the Tdap vaccination during pregnancy.

The study shows that when mothers who get this vaccine during the gestation period their newborns have a much lower chance of contracting whooping cough during their first two months of life. The CDC said that this is when babies are at their most vulnerable to the disease.

“Getting Tdap during pregnancy offers infants the best protection before they are old enough to receive their whooping cough vaccines,” said Dr. José Romero, Director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

“This protection is critical because those first few months are when infants are most likely to have serious complications, be hospitalized or die if they get whooping cough,” added Dr. Romero.  

The CDC said that their study tracked reports between Jan. 1, 2000 and Dec. 31, 2019. In this, they discovered that there is a strong correlation between a mother getting the Tdap vaccine during pregnancy and that newborn not contracting whooping cough in the first two months of life.

Hence, the CDC said that this study supports their recommendation to get the Tdap vaccine during weeks 27–36 of each pregnancy. 

“Everyone who is pregnant should feel confident in knowing that the Tdap vaccine is safe and effective,” said Dr. Linda Eckert, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ liaison to CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

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“Knowing that Tdap vaccination during pregnancy protects nine in 10 babies from being hospitalized with whooping cough, I strongly recommend this vaccine to all my pregnant patients for their peace of mind and for their family’s health and well-being,” explained Dr. Eckert.