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When should I take the Tdap vaccine?

Reader Cindy Chew wrote in ask about vaccinations. A pregnant friend went to Raffles Medical for a tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccination, but was turned away. She asked: "What is the official position on this in Singapore and how do they expect pregnant women to actively take up crucial vaccinations when GPs provide contradictory information?"

Health reporter Linette Lai answers.

The Tdap vaccine, more commonly known as the whooping cough vaccine, is currently under review by the Ministry of Health (MOH) to decide if it should be recommended for all pregnant women.

The review is being conducted in consultation with the ministry's Expert Committee on Immunisation and the Academy of Medicine's College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. An MOH spokesman said: "While the review is in progress, we advise pregnant women to consult their obstetricians on the recommended vaccinations and immunisation schedule during pregnancy, including the Tdap vaccine."

The Tdap vaccine is typically given during pregnancy to help protect newborn babies, who are too young to be vaccinated but may still be vulnerable to pertussis, or whooping cough.

The Tdap vaccine is typically given during pregnancy to help protect newborn babies who may be vulnerable to whooping cough.
The Tdap vaccine is typically given during pregnancy to help protect newborn babies who may be vulnerable to whooping cough. PHOTO: AFP

The United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, for example, recommends that women get this vaccine between the 27 and 36 weeks of each pregnancy.

The MOH spokesman added that vaccination against influenza is recommended for women at all stages of their pregnancy.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 29, 2017, with the headline 'When should I take the Tdap vaccine?'. Print Edition | Subscribe