WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2016

New Jersey Assembly amends proposed legislation on pertussis vaccines

The New Jersey Assembly added sponsors on Monday to a bill that would require hospitals and birthing facilities to give new mothers information about pertussis vaccines for adults.

Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt (D-6th), Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande (R-11th) and Assemblywoman Valerie Huttle (D-37th) signed on as sponsors for A3978, a bill that would require the Commission of Health to prepare and provide hospitals and birthing facilities with informational literature on the adult pertussis vaccine. The literature would include information on the risks of pertussis, the mortality and morbidity rates among infants with pertussis, the efficacy of the tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis booster vaccine and the benefits of inoculating new mothers, pregnant women and other adult family members prior to an infant's birth or a mother's discharge.

The literature is meant to prevent pertussis from being transmitted to the infant. The law also requires that the information be provided to mothers prior to discharge from a hospital or birthing facility.

"By inoculating mothers and all other adult family members who may come into contact with infants, health care practitioners can more effectively prevent the transmission of pertussis to infants and reduce pertussis cases in infants less than three months old by 70 percent," the bill said.

The bill was reported out of the Assembly Women and Children Committee on Monday. A similar bill, S2832, was introduced in the New Jersey Senate last week and was referred to the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pertussis, which is also known as whooping cough, can cause serious illness in infants, children and adults. Approximately half of infants younger than one year of age who get the disease are hospitalized.