The Association of Womens Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses has issued a statement urging expectant moms, new parents and caregivers to get vaccinated for pertussis.
The AWHONN supports Centers for Disease Control & Prevention recommendations for the following people to receive the Tdap booster to protect newborns and babies from contracting the potentially deadly virus:
• All women who are trying to conceive, who are pregnant with a gestational age of at least 20 weeks or who are postpartum. The Tdap vaccine is recommended after 20 weeks gestation because it ensures the baby gets the greatest benefit from the buildup of antibodies in the mother. The baby thus gets the most protection against pertussis at birth and in the earliest months.
• Any adolescent ages 11 to 18 who may have completed childhood vaccinations and now will need one lifetime booster.
• Adults of all ages, especially parents, grandparents, caregivers and anyone else who will be providing care for a baby, particularly babies in the first year of life.
In the statement, the AWHONN said it is “concerned” with the growing pertussis epidemic in the U.S. Pertussis is the only vaccine-preventable disease that is on the rise and at epidemic levels not seen in the United States in 50 years, according to the CDC.
Of pertussis-related hospitalizations of infants in their first year of life, according to the CDC, 86% are in babies in their first three months. Among that group, 95% required mechanical ventilation and supportive care for coughing spasms and feeding difficulties. Additional complications can include pneumonia, encephalopathy, seizures and death.
Since infants are most likely to contract pertussis from their caregivers, public health experts recommend that parents build a cocoon of protection around their newborns and infants. The AWHONN offers information and advice from experts in the following articles:
Putting the brakes on pertussis. http://www.health4mom.org/a/putting_the_brakes_on_pertussis_345
Consequences of not vaccinating. http://www.health4mom.org/a/consequences_of_not_vaccinating1001/
Cocoon your baby. http://www.health4mom.org/a/cocoon_your_baby_811/
Debunking the myths of vaccinations. http://www.health4mom.org/a/debunking_the_myths_about_vaccinations_907/