A dose of Tdap is now recommended by vaccine committees for parents and caregivers of newborn babies.  The following information on this webpage is an adaptation of the CDC information found at: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr57e0514a1.htm

Tdap for new parents

Pertussis (Whooping Cough) is an acute and prolonged infectious cough illness caused by bacteria Bordetella pertussis. Pertussis results in substantial morbidity among adults and adolescents whose immunity to past childhood vaccination or B. pertussis infection might have waned and who have not received booster immunization for pertussis with adult tetanus, reduced diphtheria, and acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccine. In 2004, women aged 15-39 years accounted for 97% of all live births in the United States (3). During 2000-2006, a total of 103,940 cases of pertussis were reported to CDC’s National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS); 27,759 (27%) of these cases occurred among persons aged 15-39 years. Parents with pertussis, including new mothers, are the identified source of B. pertussis infection in >25% of pertussis cases in early infancy, when rates for complications and fatalities are highest. Infants aged <12 months accounted for 145 (93%) of 156 pertussis-related deaths reported to CDC for 2000-2006 (CDC, unpublished data, 2007). Decennial booster vaccination with adult tetanus toxoid and reduced diphtheria toxoid (Td) vaccine has been largely responsible for reducing the average annual number of tetanus and respiratory diphtheria cases reported during 2000-2006 to 31 and less than one, respectively. In contrast, the average annual number of pertussis cases was 14,849 during the same period (CDC, unpublished data, 2007).

In 2005, two Tdap vaccines were licensed in the United States.  Both vaccines are licensed for single-dose administration. Vaccinating adults and adolescents using Tdap reduces the burden of pertussis among vaccine recipients and might prevent transmission of B. pertussis to infants. Statements and recommendations by CDC’s Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices (ACIP) regarding use of Tdap by adults, including health-care personnel, and adolescents provide background information on pertussis and extensive discussion regarding the safety and immunogenicity of Tdap in pre licensure trials. These recommendations encourage adult and adolescent women of childbearing age to receive Tdap at a routine health assessment before conception to prevent the morbidity of pertussis that could occur during pregnancy and encourage use of Tdap among adults and adolescents who anticipate contact with an infant aged <12 months both for personal protection and to reduce the risk for transmittingB. pertussis to the infants.  In 2006, ACIP recommended routine administration of Tdap for postpartum women who were not vaccinated previously with Tdap to provide personal protection and reduce the risk for transmitting pertussis to their infants.

Therefore in consideration of the above, it is recommended that all post-partum (after delivery) mothers who were not vaccinated previously with Tdap receive the vaccination.  In addition, fathers should receive the Tdap immunization if they have not received it.  Grandparents and other persons in close proximity to the newborn should also receive this vaccination.  This is also true of day care workers who have contact with newborn babies.  Young children and adolescents in the home should be up to date with DTaP and Tdap.

See our immunization schedule.