Vaccine in pregnancy may prevent pertussis deaths

Vaccination of pregnant women against pertussis may emerge as the most effective response to the recent epidemic, says a leading immunisation expert.

Professor Peter McIntyre, director of the National Centre for Immunisation Research & Surveillance (NCIRS), said more research was needed to evaluate cocooning strategies, including immunising pregnant women as recommended this year by the US Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

“The main issue is, would pregnant women go along with it … and that usually comes down to what their obstetrician or GP recommends,” Professor McIntyre said.

“The lack of success at getting women to have flu vaccine in pregnancy, despite the fact it has been recommended for about 10 years, just demonstrates how reluctant and cautious everyone – doctors and mothers – is.

“But a shift of emphasis to talk about the benefit to the baby might push things in a