askST: Should pregnant women get the tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertusses vaccine?

Reader Cindy Chew wrote in to askST to inquire about vaccinations. She said that a pregnant friend went to Raffles Medical and asked for a tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccination, and was turned down.

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 answered.

The Tdap vaccine, more commonly known as the whooping cough vaccine, is currently under review by the Health Ministry (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 babies who are too young to be vaccinated, but may still be vulnerable to pertussis, or whooping cough.

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.