Pregnant? Get a Whooping Cough Shot!

If you're pregnant, a federal advisory panel recommends you get vaccinated against pertussis, or whooping cough.

Given that outbreaks of whooping cough last year in California and other states led to more than 21,000 cases nationwide (at least 4,000 more than in 2009), members of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices advise pregnant women who previously were not vaccinated to do so.

In summary, California had its worst outbreak of whooping cough in 50 years. The vaccine, which does not use live bacteria, would be given to pregnant women in the third trimester or late second trimester.

Children get whooping cough vaccine in a series of shots beginning at 2 months. Most infant deaths and hospitalizations now occur in the first two months of life, according to the Washington Post. Researchers have found getting a shot during pregnancy enables women to pass some immunity to their children.

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