If you are pregnant, you can now be vaccinated against whooping coughfree of charge
Due to the current whooping cough epidemic, the Danish Minister of Health has decided to introduce a temporary free vaccination offer of vaccination against whooping cough for pregnant women in their 3rd trimester. The vaccination offer comes into force on 1 November 2019 and concludes on 31 January 2020 at which time the epidemic will expectedly have ended.
As from Friday 1 November, all pregnant women in their 3rd trimester are entitled to free whooping cough vaccination. The offer remains in place until 31 January 2020.
The offer vas introduced by the Danish Minister of Health. In the light of the current nationwide whooping cough epidemic, it was decided to protect the youngest infants who have not yet received whooping cough vaccination.
Many children below six months of age require hospitalisation if affected by whooping cough. Luckily, serious complications are rare, and fatalities even rarer. The objective of vaccinating pregnant women during their pregnancy is to protect their neonates in the first months of life until the child can be vaccinated, thereby preventing illness and hospitalisation of the child.
Recommendations of the Danish Health Authority
The Danish Health Authority recommends that vaccination of pregnant women be given during the 3rd routine pregnancy examination with the GP at 32 full weeks of gestation.
Pregnant women in their 3rd trimester who have already attended the 3rd pregnancy examination before the new offer comes into force on 1 November may be offered vaccination at a new visit. They will, however, need to schedule vaccination with their GP themselves.
The Danish Health Authority does not recommend vaccination of pregnant women less than one week before their expected labour date. This is due, among others, to the upcoming labour date, planned initiation of labour, etc. This is so because we have no documentation that the vaccine is effective if given less than a week before the expected labour date.
Furthermore, the Danish Health Authority recommends that pregnant women with multiple pregnancy and other childbearing women who are at risk of giving birth prematurely discuss vaccination with their GP or the midwife at their department of obstetrics where they are being monitored. In this group, vaccination may also be offered in the 2nd trimester, provided medical assessment warrants that birth is not expected within one week; though not earlier than at 16 full weeks of gestation.
No signs of increased risk due to vaccination
For vaccination under the temporary vaccination scheme, the diTekiBooster from AJ Vaccines A/S is to be used. This vaccine is approved for use in adults. No vaccine studies have been performed in pregnant women, but knowledge about use of the vaccine among pregnant women is being collected continuously. And based on a substantial data material, no increased risk has been documented for whooping cough vaccination of pregnant women with respect to pregnancy, labour, complications in neonates or breast-feeding.
Whooping cough vaccination is used routinely in many countries including, among others, the US, Great Britain, Australia and Austria. In the countries where pregnant women have been vaccinated, follow-up studies have shown no increased risk for the pregnant woman or her foetus. The effect of protection against whooping cough in the initial months after birth has been established to fall in the 40-90% range