Pertussis in Oregon

Pertussis2012 has been the worst year for pertussis cases in this country during the last 50 years. In Oregon, there were 890 cases, compared to the average of 314 cases a year. 26 infants were hospitalized, 21 of whom were younger than 3 months of age. This youngest age group is at the highest risk of death. Thankfully, there were none in Oregon this past year, although we have had 4 infant deaths in Oregon during the past decade.

The new recommendation from the ACIP and tentatively supported by the AAP, is that all pregnant moms get the Tdap while pregnant. This should boost antibodies titers in mom that are passively transferred to the baby, so that babies have at least some protection when they are born. We start vaccinating babies for pertussis at 2 months of age, and give boosters again at 4 and 6 months. I think this strategy of vaccinating moms will likely reduce the number of young infant who get pertussis. The only problem with this recommendation is that it does not take into consideration the 330 or more micrograms of aluminum contained in that vaccine and that the unborn child has very little to no protection from that huge, toxic dose of aluminum. Note that studies with premature infants found that if IV solutions (TPN) exceeded 4-5 micrograms of aluminum/Kg/day, there was significant neurological damage (impairment).

So what should you do? This decision needs to be yours as a parent. There are risks and benefits with each choice. If you get the Tdap while pregnant, there is some minor reduction in the likelihood of your infant getting pertussis, which could be life saving, but you expose your developing baby to a very high toxic dose of aluminum which could result in permanent serious brain damage. The likelihood of this potential brain damage is not known as this is a grand experiment being done on the entire US population of pregnant moms starting in 2012.

I would not fault anyone for either choice (getting the vaccine or not getting it while pregnant). If it were my wife, there is no way I would knowingly inject that much of a known neurotoxin (aluminum) into my wife and thus to my developing baby. I would get the Tdap myself, have my wife get it before getting pregnant or right after delivery, and have all caregivers get the Tdap as well, thus providing a cocoon of protection for my newborn.

Below are the statistics for Oregon for 2012:

Dr. Paul

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