HealthDay News — According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap) vaccine does not appear to cause birth defects or any other major health problems for a developing fetus.

Malini DeSilva, MD, MPH, a clinical investigator for the HealthPartners Institute in Minneapolis, and colleagues included data from 324,463 live births between 2007 and 2013 at 7 Vaccine Safety Datalink sites, including northern California, southern California, Colorado, Minnesota, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin. 

The investigators analyzed births from these areas when Tdap vaccination became recommended for pregnant women and compared the results to what occurred prior to the recommendation.

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The researchers found that maternal Tdap inoculation was not significantly associated with increased risk for any major birth defects in vaccinations occurring at less than 14 weeks’ gestation, between 27 and 36 weeks’ gestation, or during any week of pregnancy.

“We basically showed there is no association between receiving the Tdap vaccine during pregnancy and these congenital defects, including microcephaly,” DeSilva told HealthDay. The study is part of ongoing efforts to monitor the safety of vaccines, DeSilva said. 

Her center is part of the Vaccine Safety Datalink, a collaborative project led by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that includes health care organizations across the nation.


DeSilva M, Vazquez-Benitez G, Nordin JD, Lipkind HS, Romitti PA, DeStefano F, Kharbanda EO. “Tdap Vaccination During Pregnancy and Microcephaly and Other Structural Birth Defects in Offspring.” JAMA. 2016. 316 (17):1823-1825. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.14432.

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