The Alberta government has made the DTaP vaccine free for all pregnant women.
A government release says by receiving the DTaP vaccine during pregnancy, expectant mothers can provide early protection to their newborns against whooping cough.
Whooping cough is a highly contagious disease that can lead to pneumonia and death.
The release states infants are at the highest risk for whooping cough complications in their first two months, until they are old enough to be immunized.
It also says the DTaP vaccine, which also protects against tetanus and diphtheria, has been proven to be safe when given during pregnancy.
“It’s important to do everything we can to ensure newborn babies are protected,“ says Health Minister Sarah Hoffman.
Hoffman explains providing this life-saving vaccine free of charge will help more expectant moms get vaccinated, as the government continues to fight for the health care needs of Alberta families.
Pregnant women can get the DTaP vaccine at an Alberta Health Services (AHS) public health clinic or at their local pharmacy. Women who wish to be immunized at a pharmacy will require a prescription.
“Getting immunized during pregnancy is a safe and effective way to protect infants against pertussis” says Dr. Kristin Klein, Deputy Medical Officer of Health. “I encourage women to get their DTaP vaccine during every pregnancy.“
“Increasing access to this important immunization will help Alberta mothers provide a healthy start for their babies,” says Dr. Laura McDougall, Senior Medical Officer of Health, AHS.
The release also recommends women get immunized between 27 and 32 weeks of their pregnancy, as it is the best timeframe to maximize the transfer of immunity to the infant.