The committee’s recommendations state that a single dose of Repevax (dTaP/IPV) should be given between weeks 28 and 38 of pregnancy (ideally during weeks 28–32) to protect babies until they can be vaccinated at two months of age. The vaccine may be administered up until the onset of labour and should also be offered to new mothers who are not immunised against pertussis.
Physicians should note that these recommendations differ from the SPC for Repevax but the JCVI says that it has "no concerns about the safety of use of this vaccine at any stage in pregnancy". A similar vaccine is already given to pregnant women in the US.
The recommendation has been issued in response to the ongoing pertussis outbreak in the UK, which has resulted in a number of fatalities in infants.
To ensure access to pertussis-containing vaccines for both the prenatal and childhood vaccination programmes, the Department of Health has specified that Repevax should only be used for vaccination in pregnancy and Infanrix-IPV should only be used for booster vaccinations in preschool children. For further guidance on routine childhood immunisation, see the MIMS table.