Calif. Study: Prenatal Whooping Cough Vaccine Can Protect Infants
Infants born to women who receive the pertussis vaccine in their third trimester but still contract the disease are less likely to be hospitalized, according to a study released by the California Department of Public Health, KPCC's "KPCC News" reports.
This year, California has experienced a high rate of whooping cough, with more than 4,200 cases reported so far. More cases have been reported in 2015 than in any year since the 1950s, with the exception of epidemics in 2014 and 2010, according to DPH.
According to "KPCC News," infants can receive their first vaccination -- called Tdap -- at six weeks of age. However, they are not considered completely protected until they receive at least three of the five recommended doses, which usually happens by six months of age.
Details of Study
For the study, DPH analyzed the outcomes of 382 infants with whooping cough who were born between 2011 and August of this year.
According to the study, 44% of infected infants whose mothers received the vaccination were hospitalized, compared with 77% of infants whose mothers did not get the vaccine.
Of those who were hospitalized, infants born to vaccinated women experienced a median hospital stay of three days, compared with six days among infants of unvaccinated women. Further, 31% of infants with unvaccinated mothers were admitted to the intensive care unit, compared with 13% of infants with vaccinated mothers.
Meanwhile, none of the infants born to women who received the vaccination:
- Had seizures; or
- Needed intubation.
In comparison, among the infants with unvaccinated mothers who were hospitalized, six died and one in 10 needed intubation.
DPH Director Karen Smith said, "This study provides more evidence that getting the Tdap vaccine is the best way for pregnant mothers to protect their babies from pertussis and its complications" (Glickman, "KPCC News," KPCC, 10/23).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.