Maternal immunization with tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis vaccine (Tdap) is routinely recommended in many countries as a strategy to protect young infants against severe pertussis infection; few studies have assessed whether prenatal exposure to the vaccine is associated with any longer-term adverse health effects in children. We evaluated the long-term safety of exposure to Tdap vaccination during pregnancy.
Population-based retrospective cohort study conducted in Ontario, Canada using multiple linked province-wide health administrative databases. All live births between April 2012 and March 2017 were included, and children were followed for up to 6 years to ascertain study outcomes. Children exposed to prenatal Tdap were propensity score matched to unexposed children at a 1:5 ratio. Tdap vaccination during pregnancy was ascertained by using vaccine-specific fee codes. Immune-related (infectious diseases, asthma) and nonimmune-related (neoplasm, sensory disorders) outcomes and a nonspecific morbidity outcome (urgent or inpatient health service use) were evaluated from birth to end of follow-up.
Of 625 643 live births, 12 045 (1.9%) were exposed to Tdap in utero. There were no significant increased risks of adverse childhood outcomes and prenatal Tdap exposure; however, we observed inverse associations (adjusted incidence rate ratio [95% confidence interval]) with upper respiratory infections (0.94 [0.90–0.99]), gastrointestinal infections (0.85 [0.79–0.91]), and urgent and inpatient health service use (0.93 [0.91–0.96]).
Exposure to Tdap vaccination in pregnancy was not associated with any increased risk of adverse health outcomes in early childhood, supporting the long-term safety of Tdap administration in pregnancy.