ACIP approves new Tdap and meningococcal vaccines recommendations

A federal medical panel recently recommended that all pregnant women receive the tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis vaccine during every pregnancy and that at-risk infants receive four doses of a newly approved meningococcal vaccine.

The federal Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices voted 14-0 for the new Tdap recommendation and 13-1 for the meningococcal vaccine recommendation. Each vote had one abstention. ACIP's recommendations are usually accepted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to CIDRAP News.

"By getting Tdap during pregnancy, maternal pertussis antibodies transfer to the newborn, likely providing protection against pertussis in early life, before the baby starts getting DTaP [the children's version of Tdap] vaccines," the CDC said, CIDRAP News reports. "Tdap will also protect the mother at time of delivery, making her less likely to transmit pertussis to her infant."

ACIP also said that if women are not administered the Tdap during pregnancy, they should receive it immediately after giving birth, before leaving the hospital if possible.

The committee approved meningococcal vaccine, called the HibMenCY vaccine, is intended for use against Haemophilus influenzae type b and Neisseria meningitidis serogroups C and Y. It was approved for use infants at increased risk for the disease. The CDC said those at increased risk include "infants with recognized persistent complement pathway deficiencies and infants who have anatomic or functional asplenia including sickle cell disease."

"The majority of infant cases are caused by a type of the bacteria that are not prevented by meningococcal vaccines," the CDC said, CIDRAP News reports.