Hospital Policy Spurs New Moms to Get Whooping Cough Shot03/06/14
THURSDAY, March 6, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- New mothers are much
more likely to get a whooping cough shot if hospitals make it a
standing order, a new study finds.
Vaccinating new mothers against whooping cough (pertussis)
protects both them and their babies against the disease, the study
Researchers looked at whooping cough vaccination rates among new
mothers in two hospitals. One hospital followed standard
procedures, while the other first implemented a doctor opt-in
order, and then instituted a standing order for new mothers to be
given the Tdap vaccine before they left the hospital. The Tdap
vaccine protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis.
At the start of the study, the Tdap vaccination rate among new
mothers was zero at both hospitals. This increased to 18 percent in
the one hospital after it introduced the doctor opt-in order, and
to 69 percent when the hospital implemented the standing order, the
The findings were published in the March issue of the
American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.
"Vaccinating mothers of newborns holds the promise to reduce the risk of whooping cough among infants," Dr. Sylvia Yeh, of the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute, said in an institute news release.
"Our study found a simple change in a hospital's standing orders can make a profound difference in the immunization rates of mothers of newborns and provide vital protection to their babies and the rest of their families," she added.
Yeh said that mothers "are likely to agree to be vaccinated if
they receive information on the importance of being immunized to
protect their children."
Since the study was completed, the U.S. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices
has updated its recommendations to say that pregnant women who
haven't been vaccinated against whooping cough should be given the
vaccination in the latter part of the second trimester or in the
Despite the recommendation, research has shown that less than 3
percent of unvaccinated pregnant women receive a Tdap shot,
according to the study authors.
The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about
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