The immunization schedule for older kids and adults has been released—and moms-to-be made the list.
Ready to roll up your sleeve, Mom-to-be? According to the 2012 revised recommendations from the US Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, all pregnant women should receive a Tdap booster sometime after the 20th week of pregnancy. Health officials say this will boost the body's defenses against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough), which has been on the rise in recent years. Moms are being told to get the booster shot during the latter half of pregnancy in order for antibodies to be passed along to their babies just before birth.
Whooping cough is a highly contagious respiratory tract infection that can carry series health consequences for young children. Infants remain unprotected against pertussis until they're 2 months old and aren't fully immunized until 6 months of age. By having pregnant moms receive a booster vaccine, researchers say that babies have the chance to be born with some level of protection.
"The vulnerable period for pertussis is between birth and 4 to 6 months of age. If the mom's antibodies are present in the infant in that time period, it will provide a significant level of protection," says Dr. Michael T. Brady, Chairperson of the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases and Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at The Ohio State University.