The administration of a vaccine against whooping cough during pregnancy has been found to yield benefits for newborns, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said this week.

The CDC released the results of a new study adding evidence that Tdap vaccinations during pregnancy aid in protecting newborn children from whooping cough on February 6.

Whooping cough, or pertussis, is a “highly contagious respiratory tract infection” characterized by hacking coughs and high intake of air in between giving the sound of a “whoop.” While the disease can affect all ages, it is most prevalent among children and can be fatal for infants.

The CDC reported that an estimated one-third of infants younger than a year who contract the infection would require hospitalization and one out of 100 of these hospitalized babies would not survive.

Scientists had previously researched the effect of pregnancy vaccinations against the infection in 2016, according to the National Library of Medicine. This study postulated that the vaccine was safe and effective to immunize infants before birth.

This same study, however, admitted that there is “likely no single paradigm to effectively control pertussis” and to do so would likely require a combination of different preventative measures.

This new 2023 study is nonetheless the first time that scientists have observed population trends in the United States in terms of infant infections since the promotion of pregnancy vaccination began in 2011, the CDC’s press release pointed out.

Researchers observed infant whooping cough cases documented between January 1, 2000, and December 31, 2019, discovering an association between reduced rates in infants younger than two months and Tdap vaccinations.

“Getting Tdap during pregnancy offers infants the best protection before they are old enough to receive their whooping cough vaccines,” said Dr. José Romero, Director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, according to the press release.

“This protection is critical because those first few months are when infants are most likely to have serious complications, be hospitalized, or die if they get whooping cough,” he continued.

CDC officials recommend that women receive this vaccination in the third trimester of pregnancy to maximize the effectiveness of the vaccine, promising that the vaccine is indeed safe for the infant.

Dr. Linda Eckert, the liaison from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, said in the press release that these vaccinations protect nine out of ten infants from hospitalization.

“Everyone who is pregnant should feel confident in knowing that the Tdap vaccine is safe and effective,” said Eckert.

The Washington State Department of Health, while identifying the vaccine as the most effective preventative measure, does observe there are risk factors associated with the vaccine, such as the mild side effects typically associated with any vaccine.

The only known adverse reaction to the child’s version of the vaccine was an allergic reaction. This case was considered very rare and estimated to occur in less than one in 1 million doses.

As The Dallas Express previously reported, Texas saw an extraordinarily high rate of maternal mortality in the last few years, prompting state health authorities to investigate. They found that in the vast majority of cases in which a mother’s death occurred, it was preventable. Among the causes of death uncovered, obesity accounted for 21%.

In Dallas-Fort Worth, obesity is a prominent health issue that affects society on all levels, including the very youngest. It drives numerous complications for both mother and child, such as preeclampsia, congenital anomalies, gestational diabetes, and fetal death.