Update on Pertussis Vaccination in Pregnancy

An Advisory Committee Statement (ACS)
National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI)
February 2014

Summary Table of Information Contained in this NACI Statement

The following table highlights key information for immunization providers from the full National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) Statement: Update on Pertussis Vaccination in Pregnancy.

For readers interested in the full PDF version of the Update on Pertussis Vaccination in Pregnancy, the document is available for downloading or viewing on the Government of Canada Publications Web site.

1. What

Bordetella pertussis is a respiratory pathogen which has the heaviest burden of mortality and morbidity in the first 6 months of life. In Canada, we have seen an increase in the total number of cases of pertussis reported nationally in 2012.

2. Who

In order to protect newborn infants against pertussis, this statement addresses pregnant women who are 26 weeks of gestation or greater.

3. How

NACI does not recommend a universal program for vaccination of pregnant women given the current epidemiology in Canada.

In special circumstances, such as a regional outbreak situation, immunization with Tdap may be offered to pregnant women (≥26 weeks of gestation) irrespective of their immunization history.

Every effort should be made to administer one dose of pertussis containing vaccine in adulthood. Therefore, one dose of combined diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis containing vaccine (Tdap) can be offered to pregnant women (≥26 weeks of gestation) who have not been previously vaccinated against pertussis in adulthood.

4. Why

Pertussis continues to occur in a cyclic pattern every 2-5 years. The greatest morbidity and mortality occurs in children under 6 months of age. When an outbreak is occurring, vaccinating pregnant woman increases maternal antibody transfer. This provides immediate protection to infants who are at the greatest risk of morbidity and mortality, prior to the completion of their primary series. Vaccinating pregnant women also prevents them from acquiring infection that they may pass onto their newborn baby.

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