How Effective Is The Whooping Cough Vaccine
The whooping cough vaccine is highly effective when people get all the recommended doses. In children, DTaP protects:
- About 98 out of 100 children for at least a year after the fifth shot.
- About 7 out of 10 children for five years after the fifth shot.
In adults, Tdap protects:
- About 7 in 10 people for the first year after the shot.
- About 4 in 10 people for four years after the shot.
When pregnant women get Tdap, the vaccine protects:
- More than 3 out of 4 babies from getting whooping cough in the first 2 months of life.
- About 9 out of 10 babies from getting severe whooping cough infections that require hospitalization.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Pertussis vaccines protect children, teens and adults from whooping cough. Whooping cough is a respiratory disease that causes uncontrollable coughing fits followed by a whoop sound. In babies, whooping cough can lead to severe complications. All children, adults and pregnant women should get the whooping cough vaccine. Young children receive the vaccine as a series of five shots before age 7. Starting around age 11 to 12, teens and adults receive a booster pertussis vaccine every 10 years.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 06/25/2021.
How Is Whooping Cough Diagnosed
If you think you or your child may have whooping cough, get an assessment by your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Make sure you tell the receptionist about the cough when you phone to book an appointment as you will need to be kept separate from other people in the surgery. Older children and adults will need to wear a mask. Your doctor may be able to diagnose whooping cough after asking questions about your symptoms and doing an examination. They may take a nose and throat swab and send it to the laboratory to check for pertussis bacteria and/or test for COVID-19. A whooping cough swab will only show up positive in the early stages of the disease. Your doctor may sometimes ask for a blood test.
In People Who Are Pregnant
The Tdap vaccination is recommended for anyone who is pregnant. This shot gives your unborn baby a head start on protection against pertussis .
If you didnt get the Td or Tdap shot in the last 10 years, the shot may provide your unborn baby with protection from tetanus. It also reduces your risk of diphtheria. These conditions can be deadly to newborns.
The Tdap vaccine is safe during pregnancy.
For optimal immunity, the CDC generally recommends receiving the shot between , but its safe to receive at any point in your pregnancy.
If you dont know if youve been vaccinated, you may need a series of shots.
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When To Seek Medical Help
Tetanus is an emergency. If a person has a wound that may have come into contact with the bacteria, they should receive medical care.
Any wound that has been exposed to a contaminant such as dirt, feces, or manure requires medical attention.
Sufficient wound care is key in preventing tetanus it is important to disinfect all wounds as soon as possible.
Tetanus is a serious bacterial infection that can be fatal. Various vaccines provide immunity against the bacteria, though this protection is temporary.
The bacteria are common in the environment, so
Whooping Cough Immunisation Service
Whooping cough vaccines are given as a needle and are only available as a combination vaccine. They can be provided by a variety of recognised immunisation providers. If you’re eligible, you can get the whooping cough vaccine for free under the National Immunisation Program .
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Can Whooping Cough Be Prevented
Immunisation against whooping cough is normally effective in preventing the disease. Sometimes it is still possible to catch whooping cough, but if someone has been immunised the cough is usually less severe. Vaccination is recommended as part of routine childhood immunisation.
Immunity can wear off several years after vaccination. To have your child immunised against whooping cough, you can visit your local doctor or child health nurse.
Possible Risks Of Dtap Immunization
The vaccine can cause mild side effects: fever mild crankiness tiredness loss of appetite and tenderness, redness, or swelling in the area where the shot was given.
Rarely, a child may have a seizure, a high fever, or uncontrollable crying after getting the vaccine. But these sorts of side effects are so rare that researchers question whether they’re even caused by the vaccine. Most kids have a few minor or no side effects.
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Vaccination Is The Best Way To Protect Against Whooping Cough
In New Zealand, the pertussis vaccine for whooping cough is part of the NZ Immunisation Schedule. It is a course of 3 injections that are given at ages 6 weeks, 3 months and 5 months. Two booster doses are then given at ages 4 years and 11 years. These vaccinations are all free. Most cases of whooping cough in babies are passed on by family/whnau members, as you can be infectious and pass it on without realising. People who are around pregnant mums and babies should have a whooping cough vaccination. This includes people in the household and other close family members such as grandparents. These people could be at risk of passing whooping cough onto your baby and vaccination is the best way to prevent this. The protection you get from vaccination does reduce over time, so check with your healthcare provider if you are not sure whether you might need a booster injection. Read more about the pertussis vaccine for whooping cough.
Added Protection For Infants
It is now recommended that all pregnant women receive a pertussis vaccination when they are 20 to 32 weeks pregnant. A combination of antibodies being passed through the mothers bloodstream and the reduced risk of the mother catching the disease makes this an ideal time to administer the vaccine. Pertussis vaccine is available free of charge to eligible people under the National Immunisation Program. Speak to your doctor or antenatal care provider to schedule an appointment.
Fathers, grandparents and anyone else who is likely to come into contact with newborns should see their doctor to get a pertussis booster at least 2 weeks before the baby is born.
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What Are The Possible Side Effects Of Whooping Cough Immunisation
All medicines and vaccines can have side effects. Sometimes they are serious, most of the time theyre not.
For most people, the chance of having a serious side effect from a vaccine is much lower than the chance of serious harm if you caught the disease.
Talk to your doctor about possible side effects of whooping cough vaccines, or if you or your child have possible side effects that worry you.
Common side effects of whooping cough vaccines include:
- pain, redness, swelling or hardness where the needle went in.
The Consumer Medicine Information links in How do you get immunised against whooping cough? list the side effects of each vaccine.
How Can I Stop The Spread Of Whooping Cough
If you or your child has whooping cough:
To reduce the risk of infecting others, stay at home until you are feeling well AND you have either:
- taken 5 days of antibiotics or
- 3 weeks have passed since the start of the coughing bouts or
- been advised by your healthcare provider that you are no longer infectious.
During the stay at home time, you must stay away from early childhood centres, kohanga reo, school, work, community gatherings and people outside of your family/whnau bubble.
Tell your close contacts
Anyone who you have been in face-to-face contact with for more than 1 hour is at risk of catching whooping cough. Tell these people that you have whooping cough and that they need to get advice from their healthcare provider.
Cover coughs and sneezes
Follow good hygiene practice for covering coughs and sneezes. Wash your hands often
Follow good hygiene practice for hand washing.
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When Should I See My Doctor
See your doctor as soon as possible if you think you or your child may have whooping cough.
If a young baby has suspected whooping cough, they need to be tested for it straight away. Your doctor may refer them to hospital. This is because the disease can be severe in babies.
How Does A Person Contract Tetanus
C. tetani bacteria exist nearly everywhere in the environment, and they can pose a threat when they enter the bloodstream.
Open wounds of any kind, including burns and punctures, are potential entry points. People can also get tetanus through insect bites, dental infections, surgery, and intravenous drug use.
Newborns can get tetanus if they are born in unsanitary conditions.
According to the
Treatment depends on the severity of the wound and whether a person has received a tetanus shot. It typically focuses on preventing or managing complications.
A doctor who suspects tetanus will thoroughly cleanse the wound and administer antibiotics to prevent further infection.
A person may also require medication to control muscle spasms and a treatment called human tetanus immune globulin.
There is no cure for tetanus, but it is possible to manage the symptoms.
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Whooping Cough Vaccination In Pregnancy
Whooping cough rates have risen sharply in recent years and babies who are too young to start their vaccinations are at greatest risk.
Young babies with whooping cough are often very unwell and most will be admitted to hospital because of their illness. When whooping cough is particularly severe, they can die.
Pregnant women can help protect their babies by getting vaccinated ideally from 16 weeks up to 32 weeks pregnant. If for any reason you miss having the vaccine, you can still have it up until you go into labour.
Is The Whooping Cough Vaccine Safe For Adults Are There Any Risks
The DTaP and Tdap vaccines are very safe and effective at preventing diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis. But all medications and vaccines can have side effects.
Fortunately, the most common side effects of these vaccines are usually mild and go away on their own. They can include:
- soreness or swelling where the shot was given
- loss of appetite
Severe allergic reactions are rare but can be life threatening. Always consult your healthcare provider if youre concerned youre having a reaction.
You shouldnt get the vaccine if youve had a coma or long repeated seizures within 7 days after a dose of DTaP or Tdap.
The notes that you should tell the person giving you the vaccine if you:
- have seizures or another nervous system problem
- have ever had Guillain-Barré syndrome
- had severe pain or swelling after a dose of whooping cough vaccine.
- had an allergic reaction to the whooping cough vaccine or any severe allergies in the past
Its important to keep a record if youve ever had a severe allergic reaction in the past and to tell the healthcare provider giving you the vaccine.
Keep in mind, severe reactions are rare.
The whooping cough vaccine is a safe and effective way to prevent infection. Babies are at greatest risk of severe illness and death from this bacterial infection.
But a prolonged cough can have significant consequences for adolescents and adults. It may result in:
- substantial time lost from work or school
- social isolation
- sleep deprivation
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Whooping Cough Vaccine Side Effects
The possible side effects of whooping cough vaccine may include fever, redness and soreness where the injection was given or swelling. More serious reactions are rare but can result in severe allergic reaction symptoms like difficulty breathing, hives on your skin that break out into blisters , vomiting caused by an extreme form release chemicals released during digestion called syndrome d immediate type II lobar pneumonia characterized by rapid fatigue following infection with group b Streptococcus bacteria.
Vaccine Recommendation For Pregnant Women
Following an increase in pertussis activity in England and Wales from October 2011 and into 2012, a national pertussis outbreak was declared. In September 2012, in response to the high number of infant cases and deaths, the Department of Health launched a pertussis vaccination programme for pregnant women .
The aim of the programme is to boost immunity in the mother during pregnancy to optimise transfer of antibodies from mother to unborn baby and thereby protect the infant from birth until they reach the age of routine immunisations . The programme has been shown to be highly effective and the risk of pertussis in babies born to mothers vaccinated at least one week before delivery was reduced by around 90 percent . Vaccine effectiveness against infant deaths after maternal vaccination was estimated at 95 percent .
In June 2019 the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation recommended the maternal pertussis vaccination programme should continue as routine .
A pertussis-containing vaccine is recommended for pregnant women ideally between 20 weeks and 32 weeks gestation . Women may still be immunised after week 32 of pregnancy until delivery but this may not offer as high a level of passive protection to the baby .
A large UK study which considered the safety of maternal pertussis vaccination did not find any safety concerns .
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Diagnosis Of Whooping Cough
Whooping cough needs to be diagnosed and treated immediately. There are a number of tests for whooping cough, but they are not always reliable and the results may take some time. Treatment should not be withheld while waiting for these results.
Tests used to diagnose whooping cough may include:
- medical history including immunisation status
- physical examination
- swabs of the nose and throat for laboratory testing.
What Are The Side Effects Of The Whooping Cough Vaccine
You may have some mild side effects such as swelling, redness or tenderness where the vaccine is injected in your upper arm, just as you would with any vaccine. These only last a few days. Other side effects can include fever, irritation at the injection site, swelling of the vaccinated arm, loss of appetite, irritability and headache. Serious side effects are extremely rare.
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What Is A Tdap Shot
The Tdap shot is a common tetanus vaccine. But this vaccine protects against more germs than just tetanus.
Tdap stands for tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis. Diphtheria is a bacterial infection that can cause trouble breathing, heart damage, and paralysis. Pertussis, or whooping cough, can cause pneumonia, seizures, and brain damage, especially in infants and children. The word acellular means that only part of the pertussis bacteria is used to make the vaccine.
The diphtheria and pertussis vaccines are commonly combined with tetanus because of similar recommended vaccine schedules. This helps lower the number of shots given at one time.
Tdap vaccines can be given to anyone over the age of 10. The first dose is recommended between ages 11 and 12. After that, you get regular boosters every 10 years, with a few exceptions that well discuss below. A tip to remember when to get your next tetanus vaccine is on your decade birthdays .
Who Else Is The Vaccine Recommended For
Pregnant women should get a whooping cough booster vaccination from 16 weeks’ gestation onwards. At this time, the mother can pass her immunity on to the baby, helping protect them until they are old enough to be vaccinated themselves.
At age 45, adults are eligible for combined tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough vaccine if they have not previously received four doses of tetanus vaccine.
At age 65, adults are eligible for combined tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough vaccine, which will replace the existing combined tetanus and diphtheria vaccine from late August 2020 as stocks of the latter run out.
Other adults can receive booster vaccinations for a cost. Immunisation is recommended if:
- your work involves regular contact with infants
- you live with or care for infants under 12 months of age even if the baby has been fully immunised.
Boosters should also be considered for other people who are vulnerable to whooping cough and at high risk of severe illness or complications .
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How Effective Is The Vaccine
Around 84% of babies are protected once theyve completed 3 doses of vaccine .
Immunising against whooping cough during pregnancy protects about 90% of babies in their first few weeks of life.
Protection wanes over time. People can get whooping cough some years later, even if theyve been immunised or have had it before. Thats why its important for 4 and 11-year-olds to have booster immunisations.
Causes Of Whooping Cough
The Bordetella pertussis bacterium is spread by airborne droplets from the upper respiratory tract and is highly infectious. The time from infection to appearance of symptoms is between six and 20 days. A person is infectious for the first 21 days of their cough or until they have had five days of a 10-day course of antibiotics. In countries where immunisation rates are high, the risk of catching whooping cough is low.In Victoria, most reports of whooping cough currently occur in adults over 20 years of age. Recent research has shown that family members, household contacts and carers are the main source of whooping cough infection in babies.
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Should I Get A Tetanus Booster During Pregnancy
Yes. Pregnant women should get a Tdap shot between weeks 27 and 36 of pregnancy. This is recommended for every pregnancy, regardless of when your last booster was.
People that will have close contact with a newborn may also need to get a Tdap shot at least 2 weeks before the baby is born. This might include a partner, grandparents, and other family members. But these people would only need a Tdap shot if its been more than 10 years since their last one.
Its important to note that these recommendations arent to protect against tetanus. Theyre to protect newborns against pertussis . As mentioned earlier, pertussis can be very dangerous to infants. Tdap shots are the only FDA-approved vaccines that protect against pertussis for people over 10.