PERTUSSIS VACCINE IN PREGNANCY
Vaccines are an important part of a healthy pregnancy. They help protect you and your baby against serious diseases.
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 order to protect newborn infants against pertussis, vaccination of pregnant people who are 26 weeks of gestation or greater may help protect against pertussis.
It is recommended that all pregnant people get the pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine during each pregnancy, ideally provided between 27-32 weeks of gestation, to protect themselves and their babies.
Pregnant people in BC will be eligible to receive publicly funded Tdap vaccine in every pregnancy (pharmacy service charges may apply), irrespective of previous Tdap immunization history, to protect newborn infants from severe outcomes related to pertussis infection.
Vaccinating mom can protect baby
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.
It’s important to know which vaccines you need before, during, and after pregnancy.
OTHER VACCINES IN PREGNANCY
It’s best to make sure all of your routine vaccines are up to date before becoming pregnant. This is important because some vaccines cannot be given during pregnancy but provide important protection. For example, the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine should not be given during pregnancy, but rubella infection during pregnancy can cause miscarriage and serious birth defects. If you are planning to become pregnant, talk to your health care provider about vaccines you may need. It’s also a good idea to make sure that everyone in your household is up to date with their vaccines. This will help protect your baby by lowering the chance of household members getting a disease and passing it onto your baby.
It is recommended that all pregnant people get the pertussis (whooping cough) and influenza (flu) vaccines during each pregnancy to protect themselves and their babies. These vaccines are safe to be provided together. Other vaccines may be recommended for during pregnancy if you are travelling or at risk for certain diseases.
If you didn’t catch up on certain vaccines before or during your pregnancy, it’s important that you get them as soon as possible after your baby is born. This will help protect you and your baby, by lowering the chance of you getting a vaccine-preventable disease and passing it onto your baby. It will also ensure you’re protected in future pregnancies. It’s safe to receive vaccines right after birth, even if you are breastfeeding.