Congratulations on the birth of your new baby!  We are excited to begin our relationship with you and your child as we provide pediatric care for your family.
Pertussis, or whooping cough, is a serious bacterial infection of the lungs.  Young infants who get pertussis are at risk for lung damage, brain damage and death.  Infant vaccines include pertussis (the “P” in the DTaP vaccine), but it takes a series of vaccines over months for the infant’s immune system to give full protection.
Immunity from pertussis vaccination in early childhood wears off by about the age of ten.  Pertussis infection in older children or adults causes a prolonged cough but is often unrecognized, incorrectly assumed to be a bad cold.  We know that most babies who get pertussis catch it from a parent, sibling or caregiver.
Therefore, we recommend that parents and caregivers of infants obtain a pertussis vaccination booster prior to the birth of the new baby if it has been over 5 years since their last pertussis vaccine.  Tdap is a combination tetanus and pertussis vaccine, and counts for a tetanus booster as well.  A minimum two-year interval is recommended between the most recent tetanus booster and Tdap but mothers are advised to get Tdap with each pregnancy.  Siblings age 11 and up should also receive Tdap vaccine as part of the routine immunization schedule.
Please contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible to discuss this vaccine.
We look forward to a long and healthy relationship with you and your newborn.