Vaccine for Pregnant Women Prevents Infant Whooping Cough
The most dangerous time for a newborn, when it comes to pertussis, or whooping cough, is in the first two months of life. That’s when a baby is too young to a vaccine against it. But now, Maternal Health Education Specialists at St. Elizabeth Healthcare say that there's a new step mom can take to protect a baby in a whole new way.
Little Theodore, or “Teddy” as he's called, is 24-hours-old.
He's off to a good start and a healthy one too with what's called “cocooning” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with the “T-DAP” or whooping cough vaccine.
“That just means getting all of the family members around the baby vaccinated, kind of make the baby cocoon or protective wrap around the baby for whooping cough,” said Christina Rust, a St. Elizabeth Healthcare Maternal Child Health Educator.
There are new recommendations for both mothers and children.
“The new recommendation is to give that pre-nataly… so she can pass the antibodies for the whooping cough to her baby while it's inside,” said Rust.
As part of the newer recommendations, Rust points out something very important, that while dad can get this vaccine or another relative can get this vaccine once, mom may need this with every pregnancy to help protect a baby.
The study that led to these new recommendations found that mothers getting the T-DAP with each pregnancy “has actually decreased whooping cough in babies, zero to two months of age,” according to Rust.
And since that's the most vulnerable time the bacterial infection can set in and lead to deadly consequences for babies “it’s great as a two for one, because I got the immunity and then I can pass it on to him,” said Teddy’s mother.
The CDC came out with the recommendation because less than half of pregnant women in the United States get vaccines needed in pregnancy.