Committee Opinion No. 718: Update on Immunization and Pregnancy
The overwhelming majority of morbidity and mortality attributable to pertussis infection occurs in infants who are 3 months and younger. Infants do not begin their own vaccine series against pertussis until approximately 2 months of age. This leaves a window of significant vulnerability for newborns, many of whom contract serious pertussis infections from family members and caregivers, especially their mothers, or older siblings, or both. In 2013, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices published its updated recommendation that a dose of tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid, and acellular pertussis (Tdap) should be administered during each pregnancy, irrespective of the prior history of receiving Tdap. The recommended timing for maternal Tdap vaccination is between 27 weeks and 36 weeks of gestation. To maximize the maternal antibody response and passive antibody transfer and levels in the newborn, vaccination as early as possible in the 27–36-weeks-ofgestation window is recommended. However, the Tdap vaccine may be safely given at any time during pregnancy if needed for wound management, pertussis outbreaks, or other extenuating circumstances. There is no evidence of adverse fetal effects from vaccinating pregnant women with an inactivated virus or bacterial vaccine or toxoid, and a growing body of robust data demonstrate safety of such use. Adolescent and adult family members and caregivers who previously have not received the Tdap vaccine and who have or anticipate having close contact with an infant younger than 12 months should receive a single dose of Tdap to protect against pertussis. Given the rapid evolution of data surrounding this topic, immunization guidelines are likely to change over time, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists will continue to issue updates accordingly.