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Boostrix now recommended from 16 weeks of every pregnancy

From 1 July 2019, Boostrix® (Tdap) is funded from the second trimester of every pregnancy and recommended to be administered from 16 weeks

In response to the published safety and immunogenicity data, PHARMAC extended the eligibility for administration of Tdap to anytime during the second or third trimesters of every pregnancy.

Administration of Tdap from 16 weeks of pregnancy allows time for the woman’s immune system to produce antibody protection against pertussis. It also ensures there is enough time before birth for the antibodies to pass through the placenta into the growing baby. The level of maternal antibody in the newborn varies between mothers and babies. The antibodies are temporary but are expected to protect the newborn against severe pertussis disease for at least two months. This is the time the infant is most vulnerable before they can start their own immunisation programme. A secondary outcome of maternal Tdap vaccination may be a reduction in the risk that the woman will catch pertussis and pass it to her baby at delivery or during their first year of life.

If the vaccine is administered less than two weeks before baby’s birth, there may not be adequate time for the woman’s antibody levels to be boosted or for antibodies to pass onto her baby before birth. However, Tdap vaccination may still reduce the risk the woman will catch pertussis and pass it to her baby during their first year of life.

Please ensure that all Schedule vaccinations administered during pregnancy are recorded on the National Immunisation Register so that immunisation coverage in pregnant women can be monitored accurately.

From 1 July 2019, PHARMAC has also extended eligibility to receive a funded Boostrix vaccination to include NICU or SCBU parents or primary caregivers.

Less evidence is available on the effectiveness of providing pertussis booster vaccination to adults who are around young infants. However, Tdap vaccination may reduce the risk that close contacts will catch pertussis and pass the infection on to the infant. PHARMAC has extended eligibility for funded Boostrix (Tdap) vaccination to include parents or primary caregivers of infants:

  • who are admitted to a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) or Specialist Care Baby Unit (SCBU) for more than 3 days, and
  • whose mother did not receive a maternal Tdap vaccination at least 14 days before the baby’s birth.

 Click on this link to read the Decision to widen access to pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine on the PHARMAC website.

Last updated: Nov 2019