Journal Article

Implementation of Cocooning against Pertussis in a High-Risk Population

C. Mary Healy, Marcia A Rench and Carol J. Baker

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 52, issue 2, pages 157-162
Published in print January 2011 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online January 2011 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI:
Implementation of Cocooning against Pertussis in a High-Risk Population

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Background. In 2006, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccination of all caregivers of infants aged <1 year (“cocooning”) to prevent pertussis-related complications and deaths. We implemented cocooning in a predominantly Hispanic, medically underserved, uninsured population at a Houston hospital. Phase 1 (January 2008–January 2010) provided maternal postpartum Tdap vaccine; Phase 2 (June 2009–January 2010) also vaccinated infant contacts on-site.

Methods. Pertussis education was provided to health care personnel and mothers. Standing orders for maternal postpartum Tdap vaccination were initiated. Mothers were interviewed to ascertain the number of additional infant contacts eligible to receive Tdap vaccine. Consenting eligible contacts received Tdap vaccine as soon as possible after delivery.

Results. From 7 January 2008 through 31 January 2010, 8334 (75%) of 11,174 postpartum women received Tdap vaccine. During Phase 2, 2969 (86%) of 3455 postpartum women were vaccinated; another 197 (6%) had previously received Tdap vaccine. Mothers were Hispanic (91.4%), black (5.4%), white (0.8%), Asian (1.4%) and other (1.0%). A median of 3 (range, 1–11) other Tdap-eligible contacts per infant were identified, and a median of 2 (range, 0–10) contacts per infant received Tdap vaccine. Of 1860 contacts vaccinated, 1813 (98%) anticipated daily infant contact. A total of 1697 (91%) received Tdap vaccine before infant hospital discharge, and 144 (8%) received Tdap vaccine within 7 days after hospital discharge. Barriers to full cocooning included the need for extended vaccination hours, visiting restrictions because of pandemic H1N1 influenza, and inaccurate recall of vaccination history.

Conclusion. Although practical and logistical barriers exist, Tdap cocooning was well accepted by and successfully implemented in a high-risk population by using standing orders and providing vaccinations on-site.

Journal Article.  3999 words. 

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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