Objectives: Preventable neonatal mortality due to tetanus infection remains common. We aimed to examine antenatal vaccination impact in a context of continuing high neonatal mortality in rural northern India. Methods and Findings: Using the third round of the Indian National Family Health Survey (NFHS) 2005-06, mortality of most recent singleton births was analysed in discrete-time logistic model with maternal tetanus vaccination, together with antenatal care utilisation and supplementation with iron and folic acid. 59% of mothers reported receiving antenatal care, 48% reported receiving iron and folic acid supplementation and 68% reported receiving two or more doses of tetanus toxoid (TT) vaccination. The odds of all-cause neonatal death were reduced following one or more antenatal dose of TT with odds ratios (OR) of 0.46 (95% CI 0.26 to 0.78) after one dose and 0.45 (95% CI 0.31 to 0.66) after two or more doses. Reported utilisation of antenatal care and iron-folic acid supplementation did not influence neonatal mortality. In the statistical model, 16% (95% CI 5% to 27%) of neonatal deaths could be attributed to a lack of at least two doses of TT vaccination during pregnancy, representing an estimated 78,632 neonatal deaths in absolute terms. Conclusions: Substantial gains in newborn survival could be achieved in rural North India through increased coverage of antenatal TT vaccination. The apparent substantial protective effect of a single antenatal dose of TT requires further study. It may reflect greater population vaccination coverage and indicates that health programming should prioritise universal antenatal coverage with at least one dose.
- tetanus toxoid
- folic acid