Over the past decade, there has been a large increase in the incidence of pertussis (whooping cough) in the United States, with over 40,000 cases being reported in 2012. What is of great concern is the large number of infants being affected.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) reports that most pertussis hospitalizations and deaths occurred among children under 3 months old. Babies do not receive their first pertussis vaccine until two months of age, and they are not fully protected until after their third shot, which comes at about six months. Over the first six months of life our babies are at a high risk of getting very sick if they develop this bacterial infection.
In order to combat this new outbreak of pertussis, in January 2013, the CDC released a new immunization schedule. This recommended that a dose of Tdap vaccine be given to all women during each pregnancy whether or not she had received the vaccine previously. This was a change from their previous recommendations which suggested that the vaccine be given only to pregnant women who had never received this vaccine.