Whooping Cough Vaccine
The whooping cough vaccine available in Australia is a combination vaccine that contains protection against other serious diseases. The type of combination you receive depends on your age. In Victoria, immunisation is free for several groups of people, including:
- Children up to nine years of age
- Year 7 secondary school students
- Pregnant women during every pregnancy
- Partners of pregnant women
To find out if you are eligible for free vaccination, come in and speak with us.
Any person who will be in close contact with an infant less than six months of age should be immunised at least two weeks prior to contact. A booster is recommended for those who have not received one in 10 years.
Pregnancy and the whooping cough vaccine
In Victoria, the whooping cough vaccine is free for pregnant women from 28 weeks gestation. It is recommended to be given between 20 and 32 weeks. It’s safe, and the most effective way to protect the baby until they can begin their own course of immunisation at six weeks.
What is whooping cough?
Whooping cough is a respiratory infection caused by the bacteria Bordetella pertussi and it’s extremely contagious. The name comes from the ‘whoop’ sound an infected person makes when trying to catch their breath between bouts of coughing. Babies under six months of age are at particular risk of complications, including death, most likely due to their undeveloped immune systems and the fact that they are yet to finish the course of immunisation. One in 200 babies who contract the illness die.
Whooping cough symptoms
Early on, symptoms are similar to those of a cold, but then a serious cough develops which can last for 10 weeks. Some who are infected, especially children, can cough so much they vomit. Children may appear well between spells of coughing, though in severe cases the afflicted can have trouble catching their breath.
For more information please view the Better Health website.
For information on other vaccines, see also: