Give pertussis vax in pregnancy: US

THE Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) will review a move in the US to offer pertussis vaccination to pregnant women.

The US Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) last month recommended that the vaccine be given to women after 20 weeks’ gestation because cocooning strategies alone appeared to be failing to protect babies.

“ATAGI will be examining carefully the ACIP recommendation and the evidence basis for it,” ATAGI chair Professor Terry Nolan said.

“No-one else in the world is doing this, to our knowledge – that is, immunising, as a general recommendation, in the last trimester of pregnancy.”

Professor Nolan said cocooning – immunising caregivers of newborns – was based on “first principles” but studies were under way in both Australia and the US to determine its effect on pertussis transmission.

“There’s indirect