Vaccinating pregnant women with Tdap vaccine protects young infants from severe pertussis and hospitalization

Infants less than 2 months old are too young to be vaccinated against pertussis yet are at highest risk of severe disease – – a 75% hospitalization rate and a 1% case fatality rate. A case-control study in six U.S. states found that vaccinating women during the third trimester of pregnancy with Tdap vaccine provided 81% protection against pertussis to infants <2 months and 91% protection against hospitalized cases of pertussis.

Vaccinating pregnant women with Tdap vaccine is 81% effective in preventing pertussis in infants

Vaccinating women during their second or third trimester of pregnancy with the Tdap vaccine was 81% effective in preventing pertussis in their infants in the first two months of life, according to a case-control study in Argentina.

This is one of the first studies to measure the effectiveness of maternal pertussis vaccination in a middle-income country and its findings support Argentina’s decision to introduce the vaccine.

Poverty negatively affects the timing of vaccines given to children

In Tanzania, poverty was found to have a negative effect on receiving vaccines on time (at the recommended age). Children in the wealthiest quintile experienced 19% fewer delays for BCG vaccination, 23% fewer delays for the third dose of DTP vaccination, and 31% fewer delays for the first dose of measles-containing vaccine compared to children of the poorest quintile.

Location of health facilities drastially affects the immunization of children

Children in Tanzania living 5 km or greater distance from the nearest healthcare facility were less likely to be immunized than children living less than 5 km from facilities. Compared to children living close a health facility, children far from a health facility had almost three times the risk of missing out on BCG, 84% higher risk of missing the third dose of DTP, and 48% higher risk of missing the first dose of measles-containing vaccine. Of children who did receive BCG, those living more than 5 km from facilities were 26% more likely to received BCG vaccine late than children close to the facility.

The greatest cost savings come from the scaling up of preventative immunization

Considering both the direct and indirect costs, researchers in the Netherlands estimated that the preventative immunization of Dutch healthcare workers (HCW) against pertussis (to reduce exposure and transmission contributing to outbreaks) results in a return on investment of 4 Euros to every 1 euro invested. This projection assumes an outbreak of pertussis once every 10 years.