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Impact of national recommendations for routine pertussis vaccination during pregnancy on infant pertussis in Ontario, Canada: a population-based time-series study


Background — In February 2018, Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommended antenatal tetanus–diphtheria–acellular pertussis (Tdap) immunization in every pregnancy regardless of previous Tdap immunization history. We examined the impact of the NACI recommendation on rates of infant pertussis in Ontario, Canada.

Methods — We conducted a population-based time-series study of all live births in Ontario between August 1, 2011 and February 28, 2020. We used interventional autoregressive integrated moving average models to examine the impact of the NACI recommendation on monthly rates of pertussis among infants ≤ 3 months of age.

Results — We observed 675 incident cases of pertussis among 1,368,024 infants 3 months of age or less between August 2011 and February 2020. The average monthly percent change in infant pertussis during the period up to and including publication of the NACI guidance and the period following publication were 0.0% (95% CI: -0.4–0.3%) and − 0.8% (95% CI -2.3% to -0.1%), respectively. Following interventional ARIMA modelling, publication of the NACI guidance was not associated with a statistically significant decrease in the monthly pertussis incidence trend (-0.67 cases per 100,000 infants; p = 0.73).

Conclusion — Publication of national recommendations for antenatal Tdap immunization in every pregnancy did not significantly reduce infant pertussis rates. This may reflect the persistently low rate of antenatal vaccination following publication of the recommendations. Expanding the scope of practice of allied healthcare providers to include antenatal Tdap immunization and patient education regarding antenatal pertussis immunization should be considered to further optimize uptake of vaccination.



Antoniou T, McCormack D, Fell DB, Kwong JC, Gomes T. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2023; 23(1):627. Epub 2023 Aug 31.

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