The AAFP has created a comprehensive resource to inform and remind family physicians about the importance of recommending that pregnant women receive tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid and acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccine during every pregnancy -- ideally, between 27 and 36 weeks of gestation.
Jennifer Frost, M.D., medical director for the AAFP Health of the Public and Science Division, told AAFP News that the goal of this resource is to increase the uptake of Tdap vaccine in pregnant women.
"It gives family physicians tools to help share this information with their pregnant patients," she said. "Hopefully, this will result in family physicians recommending the vaccine more often and more effectively."
Because pregnant patients view family physicians as a trusted source of information, strongly recommending Tdap can go a long way toward making sure these patients' children are protected against pertussis.
- The AAFP has created a resource to inform and remind family physicians about recommending tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid and acellular pertussis (Tdap) to pregnant women.
- The resource includes information on pertussis risks and dangers; the evidence behind the recommendation for Tdap, including its safety profile and effectiveness data; and tips for discussing the vaccine with your pregnant patients.
- The Web page includes links to additional CDC and Academy resources on pertussis and the complete adult and childhood immunization schedules.
"It's important for pregnant patients to know that this vaccination is safe and will protect their unborn child," Frost said. "The incidence of pertussis is on the rise, and infants cannot be immunized against it until they are 2 months old. So newborns are at much higher risk of getting pertussis, and the majority of deaths from pertussis occur in these young infants."
The resource includes information on pertussis risks and dangers; the evidence behind the recommendation for Tdap, including its safety profile and effectiveness data; and tips for discussing the vaccine with pregnant patients.
One key recommendation is to use the CDC's SHARE mnemonic with patients who are unsure about getting the Tdap vaccine:
- Share specific reasons why the Tdap vaccine is essential for pregnant women during every pregnancy.
- Highlight positive experiences (personal or in your practice) that reinforce the benefits of the Tdap vaccine.
- Address each patient's questions and concerns about the vaccine in plain, understandable language.
- Remind your patient that vaccines protect her and her family from many other serious diseases.
- Explain the potential costs of contracting pertussis, especially among infants.
Pertussis by the
Numbers in 2014
28,660 -- Pertussis cases in the United States (18 percent increase from 2013)
6,951 -- Pertussis cases in California, the state with the most case reports (other states reporting more than 1,000 pertussis cases were Colorado, Michigan, Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin)
2,974 -- Pertussis cases in infants younger than 6 months (10.4 percent of all reported cases)
Don't pull any punches when it comes to giving patients the plain truth about Tdap vaccination, Frost advised: "Pregnant patients need to understand that this simple shot may save their child's life."
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