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Experts Push Pertussis Shots in Pregnancy

Vaccinating pregnant women offers the best way to protect newborns against whooping cough, a panel of experts says. If that doesn't happen, everyone having close contact with the baby should get the vaccine as soon as possible, the panel says. The new advice comes from an expert group called the Global Pertussis Initiative. Pertussis bacteria cause whooping cough. The new report is based on a close look at previous research. Several studies show that whooping cough rates among babies less than 3 months old have dropped in recent years. This drop occurred after increased promotions of pertussis booster shots for pregnant women. Women who get the shots while pregnant can pass on some of their immunity to their babies before birth. Babies can't get their own shots until age 2 months. That's when they get their first dose of the vaccine against diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus.

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