Increasing Adult Tdap Vaccination Rates by Vaccinating Infant Caregivers in the Pediatric Office

The vaccine for tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis (Tdap) is recommended for unvaccinated adults who have routine contacts with infants younger than a year old. This protection for household members is important as infants do not become immune to pertussis until they receive two doses of the combination diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis vaccine.

These investigators sought to increase Tdap vaccination rates of new mothers and other adult caregivers by providing the vaccine during infant visits at a hospital-affiliated pediatric clinic in Connecticut. All adults with close infant contact would receive the vaccination regardless of insurance status when attending one and two-week infant visits. Researchers used community-developed education materials and partnered with the department of health and the hospital to gain community acceptance.

Of the mothers and caregivers invited to participate in the study, 77 percent participated. Some 69 percent received the vaccine in the clinic; 8 percent had already received it; 24 percent refused. In all, 46 percent of the infants’ adult household contacts were vaccinated.

A large percentage of the caregivers in the study did not have medical insurance and did not receive routine regular medical care. This suggests that those vaccinated would otherwise not have received the Tdap vaccine.