No Link Between Tdap Vaccine and Congenital Defects

Finding should reassure women who get Tdap to help protect their infant against pertussis
Finding should reassure women who get Tdap to help protect their infant against pertussis

HealthDay News — The tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap) vaccine does not appear to cause birth defects or any other major health problems for a developing fetus, according to a research letter published in the November 1 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Malini DeSilva, MD, MPH, a clinical investigator for the HealthPartners Institute in Minneapolis, and colleagues included data from 324,463 live births between 2007 and 2013 at seven Vaccine Safety Datalink sites, including northern California, southern California, Colorado, Minnesota, Oregon, Washington, and Wisconsin. The investigators analyzed births from these areas when Tdap vaccination became recommended for pregnant women, and compared the results to what occurred prior to the recommendation. 

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The researchers found that maternal Tdap inoculation wasn't significantly associated with increased risk for any major birth defects in vaccinations occurring at less than 14 weeks' gestation, between 27 and 36 weeks' gestation, or during any week of pregnancy.

"We basically showed there is no association between receiving the Tdap vaccine during pregnancy and these congenital defects, including microcephaly," DeSilva told HealthDay. The study is part of ongoing efforts to monitor the safety of vaccines, DeSilva said. Her center is part of the Vaccine Safety Datalink, a collaborative project led by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that includes health care organizations across the nation.

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