Whooping Cough – Should You Get Vaccination During Pregnancy?

whooping cough during pregnancy

Also known as pertussis, whooping cough is a bacterial infection that may lead to the death of some infants. TDAP (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) is a vaccine that many doctors are urging their pregnant patients to receive before the baby’s birth.

In adults, pertussis causes a very persistent cough lasting as many as 100 days. However, in infants, who are most at risk during the first six months, it can lead to pneumonia and other serious illnesses and in some rare cases, it can be fatal.

How Risky is Whooping Cough for your infant?

Statistics show that 0.5% of children under one-year-old die of whooping cough. While most antibiotics used to treat the illness have some side effects with an estimated 3% chance of being fatal, Doctors still believe the risk of the disease to outweigh the negative properties of the vaccine.

Nearly 50% of newborns are said to be infected by their mothers at birth. Although the vaccination is not recommended to give to newborns until the age of 2 months, some doctors recommend getting vaccinated when pregnant (normally between 27-36 weeks.)

It is also possible for babies and younger children to catch the disease from a parent or sibling that has just received the vaccine. Because the virus injected is dormant. However, it doesn’t mean it’s not contagious. Even the CDC recommends waiting at least 2-3 weeks before sharing contact with young ones after you have been vaccinated.

Many studies and trials have reported a connection between vaccines and serious neurological disabilities. But these have been discredited due to them being conducted outside of normal statistical standards. Numerous claims of children and adults having negative reactions to the vaccines continue to be reported but are not commonly taken seriously. Despite the statements of the disease being preventable by administering the doses, the majority of parents have started thinking twice about getting their children vaccinated.

A few of the unknown facts about the pertussis vaccine:

  • It has resulted in more deaths than the disease– According to VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System), the number of recorded deaths for children 10 and under in just 3 months (11/2014) was 49 compared to the 255 fatalities from 2000-2012. This doesn’t count the abundance of serious illnesses and disabilities or unrecorded fatalities.
  • It is not safe for everyone– A study found that TDAP contains a bacterial component called casamino acid. It is made up of amino acids; the same proteins found in milk. This makes them highly unsafe for anyone with milk allergies. This accounts for 2.5% of children younger than 3 years old.
  • The whooping cough vaccine may be causing more outbreaks– Despite the increase in children being vaccinated, the disease has continued to grow. Mounting evidence shows that the shots only cover a part of the pertussis strain causing the untreated bacteria to become stronger. This means that the virus mutates and becomes more difficult for our bodies to fight.

It is recommended to get all five doses of the TDAP and a booster shot every 10 years. (as the prevention does not last). There is no proof as of yet that the growing list of side effects can be attributed to the medicine. So, you as the parent must decide what is right for your child.


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