Child with whooping cough/pertussis. Photo via CDC.
Yesterday, the U.S. Center of Disease and Control (CDC) announced new vaccine recommendations for pregnant women. Ever since whooping cough (also known as pertussis) has made a comeback, inflicting nearly 13,000 people a year in recent years, studies have been conducted to try to figure out where the breakdown of immunity has occurred. In 2008, 13 people died of whooping cough. Since the vaccine was introduced in the 1940′s, whooping cough has decreased by 99%, however, new cases started popping up in the 1980′s and growing in the 90s and 2000s. Many experts believe that the vaccine requires a boaster shot in the teen and adult years.
The CDC now believe that the broken link of teens and adults who have never received the vaccination and those whose immunity has worn off, after being innoculated as infant, is what’s causing the whooping cough epidemic. They are now recommending that anybody who comes in contact with newborns and infants be immunized. Previously, the CDC recommended that women be immunized shortly after giving birth but have reversed that policy to recommend that women be inoculated for the disease in their second or third trimester of pregnancy. The CDC claims that evidence concludes that the specific whooping cough vaccination is safe during pregnancy, although some experts suggest that a whooping cough vaccination in pregnant women, might interfere with an infants ability to receive full benefits of their own vaccination, usually given it’s first dose of 5 at around 4 months of age.
According to MSNBC, the CDC panel is also recommending that pregnant women be immunized against meningitis as well.
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