McMaster University

McMaster University


Pertussis Vaccine (Tdap) Information

The Ontario Hospital Association Pertussis Surveillance Protocol has the following requirement pre-placement:

All adult (≥ age 18 years) health care workers, regardless of age, should receive a single dose of tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis vaccine (Tdap) for pertussis protection if not previously received in adulthood, even if not due for a booster. The adult dose is in addition to the routine adolescent booster dose. The interval between the last tetanus-diphtheria booster and the Tdap vaccine does not matter.

N.B. Students entering Year One who are currently under age 18 years (all are in the Midwifery or Nursing Basic Stream A programs) are required to document an adolescent Tdap vaccine given age 14-17 years; a booster dose of vaccine will be required on or after the 18th birthday.

Previous immunization against pertussis or a history of natural pertussis infection does not provide lifelong immunity. There is no routine antibody testing available to determine immune status to pertussis.

Adverse reactions to Tdap vaccine are less common in adults than adolescents. The interval between a previous dose of Td vaccine and a dose of Tdap vaccine does not affect the rate of injection site or systemic adverse events.

Immunization with Tdap is safe and effective in pregnant women, and allows for high levels of antibody in newborns during the first two months of life, when morbidity and mortality from pertussis infection is the highest. The Canadian Immunization Guide recommends vaccination at 26 weeks pregnancy or later in pregnant women not previously immunized in adulthood. Immunization should not be delayed until close to delivery since this may provide insufficient time for optimal transfer of antibodies and direct protection of the infant against pertussis.

NOTE: This is a mandatory requirement for learners in Health Professional Programs at McMaster. An exemption will only be allowed for medical reasons, in which case a note from a physician must be submitted. International students who are unable to access the vaccine in their home country must receive the vaccine in Canada before they may attend a clinical placement.

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