Tdap Vaccination Recommended to Pregnant Women

In the field of medicine, professionals are almost always faced with dilemmas regarding how they deliver their services. The balance between the benefit of a treatment and its potential harm is one thing that health care workers often have to face. The issue whether Tdap vaccination should or should not be given to pregnant women is one that has been debated over.

However, according to a recent advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, women should be given the Tdap vaccine during their pregnancy. This new method aims to give protection to infants, one group that is most susceptible and have the highest risk for complications from the disease called pertussis.

The first vaccine developed was in 1906, when Jules Bordet and Octave Gengou isolated B. pertussis in pure culture. Several other attempts in creating an inactivated whole-cell pertussis followed right after its growth in pure culture that year. Scientists from the world allover developed pertussis vaccines and all have proven to be somewhat effective in eliminating the occurrence of this highly contagious disease. It was in 1942 when Pearl Kendrick, an American scientist, fused the whole-cell pertussis vaccine with tetanus toxoids and also diphtheria. This was the first ever DTP combination vaccine. Yuji Samato, a Japanese scientist, attempted to decrease the usual side effects brought about by the pertussis part of the vaccine. He created an acellular pertussis vaccine with secretions from B. pertussis (which the bacteria secrete in the culture medium). Eventually, versions of this acellular pertussis vaccine was then utilized in other countries and along with this, extra components of B. pertussis were added to make up the TdaP combination vaccine.

However, several controversies regarding the use of the Tdap vaccine soon rose around the 1970’s and 1980s. Questions have arisen whether component of the whole-cell pertussis resulted in permanent brain injury, which was termed pertussis vaccine encephalopathy. However, even with this likelihood, physicians still advised the vaccine owing to the vast public health advantage. In comparison to the incidence of such outcome, the risk of death from pertussis still greatly outnumbers that of the brain injury matter.

No research has revealed a causal connection for the two events. Studies later proved that there was indeed no link between Tdap administration and permanent brain injury. The alleged brain injury which resulted from the vaccine was proven to be an unrelated condition which is infantile epilepsy.

In 2010, in a nationwide result, there was large figure of 27,550 of reported pertussis cases. This highly contagious bacterial disease which is caused by bordetella pertussis can have serious, maybe even fatal, or prolonged sickness. Those who are not yet age appropriate to receive vaccination, most especially infants, are the group with the highest risk for serious sickness and death, based on a statement from the CDC.

A woman, in the time of her pregnancy, will pass to her baby maternal pertussis antibodies which could give protection against pertussis in the early years of life prior to the initial TdaP series that will be given later on. At the same time, Tdap will also give protection to the mother during delivery, decreasing the likelihood of her transmitting pertussis to her baby.

The suggestions can be seen on the Oct. 21 copy of the Morbidity and Mortality Report.


Image Courtesy of

Daisy Jane Antipuesto RN MN

Currently a Nursing Local Board Examination Reviewer. Subjects handled are Pediatric, Obstetric and Psychiatric Nursing. Previous work experiences include: Clinical instructor/lecturer, clinical coordinator (Level II), caregiver instructor/lecturer, NC2 examination reviewer and staff/clinic nurse. Areas of specialization: Emergency room, Orthopedic Ward and Delivery Room. Also an IELTS passer.

What Do You Think?