Are you pregnant? Talk to your OBGYN about how to protect your baby from pertussis by getting vaccinated during each of your pregnancies. Click here to learn more about the latest recommendation for pregnant women.
Infants are at the greatest risk for getting pertussis. This disease can cause severe complications and even death.
The CDC recommends two strategies to protect infants from pertussis until they’re old enough to receive vaccines and build their immunity against this disease:
- Pregnant women should get vaccinated against this disease between 27 and 36 weeks gestation, preferably during the earlier part of this time period.
- Make sure everyone around the infant is immunized. This includes parents, siblings, grandparents (including those 65 years and older), other family members, babysitters, etc. They should get the age-appropriate vaccine (DTaP or Tdap) at least two weeks before coming into close contact with the infant.By getting Tdap during pregnancy, mothers build antibodies that are transferred to the newborn, likely providing protection against pertussis in early life, before the baby can start getting DTaP vaccines at 2 months old. Tdap also protects mothers during delivery, making them less likely to transmit pertussis to their infants.
According to the CDC, “These two strategies should reduce infection in infants, since health data have shown that, when the source of pertussis could be identified, mothers were responsible for 30-40% of infant infections and all household members were responsible for about 80% of infections.”