Pertussis has had a resurgence with the highest incidence and complication rates in young infants, and deaths occurring mainly at < age 3 months. Infants are infected by older individuals whose immunity has waned. Strategies such as targeted immunization of infant caregivers have had limited success. Pertussis vaccination in pregnancy may protect infants through passive and active transfer of maternal antibodies that protect the infant until the primary immunization series. Studies show vaccinating pregnant women with acellular pertussis vaccine is safe for mother and infant, immunogenic with efficient transfer of antibodies to infants, and effective in preventing pertussis in young infants. Vaccine uptake in pregnant women is sub-optimal, but provider recommendation is the most important factor in improving vaccination rates. Studies are ongoing to determine the best timing of vaccination to protect infants, and into other strategies. Vaccinating pregnant women offers hope to prevent pertussis-related morbidity and mortality in infants worldwide.
Journal:Hum Vaccin Immunother. 2016