The following is for informational purposes only and not intended to be personal medical advice.

We get many questions from our patients as to our opinion on vaccination during pregnancy for pertussis (whooping cough). This is the Tdap vaccine which includes pertussis, tetanus and diptheria.

Our current opinion is that Tdap is probably not worth the risk.

Here’s why:

First. The CDC states that: “The whooping cough vaccine is very safe for you and your baby”[1].

However, the CDC seems to have undisclosed biases [7][8]. Somehow the CDC is confident that the vaccine is “very safe” despite there being no safety studies on pregnant women. Currently, there are two options for vaccination during pregnancy with the Tdap:

(1) Boostrix (Tdap – Category B – no human studies, animal studies seemed ok) Section 8.1, Line 319 of vaccine insert:

“There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. Because animal reproduction studies are not always predictive of human response, BOOSTRIX should be given to a pregnant woman only if clearly needed” [2].

(2) Adacel (Tdap -Category C – possibly adverse effects in animals and no human studies) Section 8.1 of vaccine insert, line 253:

“ It is also not known whether Adacel vaccine can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman or can affect reproduction capacity. Adacel vaccine should be given to a pregnant woman only if clearly needed” [3].

Clearly the vaccine manufacturers are not confident that their vaccines are safe for pregnant women.

Second. It is not clear that taking the risk and vaccinating during pregnancy will result in any protection at all to the child. In a study that looked at antibody levels in infants from mothers who were vaccinated with the Tdap during pregnancy, they found levels of 68.8 EU/mL (at birth) [4]. Two months later, titers were down to 20.6 EU/ml. The question then is what level of antibodies are protective? A study that examined this question found that the average antibody level of children who developed severe pertussis was 79 EU/ml (i.e., levels below 79 were not protective at all). The levels necessary to achieve full protection were 246! At levels of 156, children developed mild pertussis only [5]. In other words, at a level of 68.8, the average child would likely develop severe pertussis, implying that the Tdap vaccine is useless to prevent pertussis in infants.

Third. A baboon study showed that when the mother was vaccinated with DTaP (not Tdap) the babies were protected from a challenge with pertussis. It is important to understand two things: (1) DTaP is not allowed to be administered to pregnant humans per the FDA due to safety concerns. Therefore, this study is not relevant. At best it was a gross oversight and at worst it was deliberate manipulation (using something much stronger in baboons than what is allowed to be used in humans and then take those results and apply it to humans). (2) It is also worthwhile to note that while the DTaP protected children from symptoms of pertussis, it did not prevent infection with the organism. One study looked at the consequences of getting infected with b. pertussis without developing symptoms (i.e., what happens when you vaccinate for b. pertussis and encounter it). In that study they showed that such people had a significant increased risk of developing neurological disease [6]. Having said that, the real risk of death in babies is with the symptoms of pertussis and not the actual bacteria itself.

There are many other potential risks of vaccination, many of them autoimmune or neurological. The PR campaign stating that science has proven there is no connection between vaccines and autism is not science. Even if you ignore the actual statements of a lead CDC researcher that they fudged the data to make it look like the MMR had no association with autism, only two vaccines have been looked at! Therefore, saying that vaccines don’t cause autism is the equivalence of saying that it’s safe to eat all mushrooms when you only studied the ingestion of button and portobello mushrooms. Regardless, evidence to the contrary is mounting [9][10] and we predict the current vaccines will indeed be found to be contributing factors to the neurological epidemic we are seeing [11]. The good news is enough people are waking up to this and there are some new developments in vaccines that will hopefully make them safer.

In summary, there are no human safety studies done to determine whether the Tdap is safe during pregnancy. In the only studies we have found measuring antibodies, the maternal transfer of antibodies doesn’t appear to offer the infant any protection at all against severe pertussis symptoms. The baboon study showing protection did not use the same vaccine and is therefore, irrelevant. In short, there doesn’t seem to be a clear benefit from having the Tdap and there may be unknown, long-term risks due to lack of controlled safety studies. If you do decide to get the Tdap, please make sure they order you Boostrix.

Also, until 6 months, we recommend keeping your baby away from any unnecessary contacts. Also, because people who have been vaccinated for pertussis do not have symptoms of pertussis (but are still able to transmit it to others) an additional precaution would be not to let them kiss the baby on the lips, eyes, nose, etc. and also not to kiss anything the baby will put in its mouth such as its hands. Kissing on the top of the head or feet might be the best compromise.

Finally, if you or your child do get pertussis, antibiotics almost never work to stop the dangerous symptoms. The best treatments we are aware of are Chinese herbal medicine, high dose vitamin C protocol, and possibly ozone therapy.

[2] BOOSTRIX Vaccine Insert download from FDA website
[3] ADACEL Vaccine Insert download from FDA website
[4] JAMA. 2014;311(17):1760-1769. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.3633.
[7] A group calling itself CDC Scientists Preserving Integrity, Diligence and Ethics in Research, or (CDC SPIDER), put a list of complaints in writing in a letter to CDC Chief of Staff and provided a copy of the letter to the public watchdog organization U.S. Right to Know (USRTK). The members of the group have elected to file the complaint anonymously for fear of retribution.
“It appears that our mission is being influenced and shaped by outside parties and rogue interests… and Congressional intent for our agency is being circumvented by some of our leaders. What concerns us most, is that it is becoming the norm and not the rare exception,”
[8] Senior CDC scientist and Whistleblower William Thompson recently stated through his attorneys: “I regret that my coauthors and I omitted statistically significant information in our 2004 article published in the journal Pediatrics. The omitted data suggested that African American males who received the MMR vaccine before age 36 months were at increased  risk for autism. Decisions were made regarding which findings to report after the data were collected, and I believe that the final study protocol was not followed. This very disturbing revelation was the subject of the movie Vaxxed.
[9] High aluminum content in autistic brains


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