Seasonal influenza and pertussis infections are known to be significant causes of morbidity and mortality in neonates and infants worldwide. Influenza has also been associated with severe complications in pregnant women and after delivery. The most efficient and safe strategy to protect mothers and their offspring is maternal immunisation during pregnancy. The maternal antibodies thus acquired are transferred to the fetus as of the second trimester and confer passive immunity until the first infant immunisations. Therefore, it is strongly advised to administer booster doses of seasonal influenza and pertussis vaccines specifically during pregnancy. Influenza vaccines can be given at any time-point during pregnancy and pertussis vaccines after the first trimester. Both need a minimum interval of 14 days between immunisation and delivery and, especially for pertussis, early immunisation has been shown to increase neonatal antibody titres. Healthcare workers play a crucial role in vaccine uptake. This article aims to review the recommendations for maternal influenza and pertussis immunisation, and their physiological rationale, safety and benefit.
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