Pregnant women who receive the pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine have babies who are less likely to suffer from the highly contagious respiratory tract infection during their first year of life, according to a recent study. It found that widespread use of diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis booster vaccine (Tdap) vaccination in pregnancy can result in significant decreases in pertussis. Dr. Gregory Poland, director of the Mayo Clinic Vaccine Research Group calls the findings very important, "What this study did is looked at over 150,000 births and looked at pertussis cases. We have widespread pertussis throughout the U.S., tens of thousands of cases. When a newborn baby gets pertussis, about 1 percent of them die. About 50 percent of them end up in the hospital with serious complications."
"What the study found is that 90 percent of these babies were fully protected. That is, the vaccine efficacy was 90 percent in that newborn time period, which is the riskiest time period. When you go out one year, 70 percent of those babies were protected. That might not sound like a high number, but remember that when you get that dose as a baby at two months, four months, now you’re protected. So even for 12 months, giving a dose to the mother in pregnancy protected that baby."
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