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Whooping cough immunisation and your baby

whooping cough

Whooping cough (also known as pertussis) is a bacterial infection of the lung and airways, which is highly contagious and spreads through airborne droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes.  

Whooping cough can affect people of any age but can be very serious (even life-threatening) for newborns and babies. Through the National Immunisation program, the vaccine is free for all pregnant women.

The optimal recommendation for timing of the vaccination in pregnancy is a single dose to be administered between 20 and 32 weeks. However the vaccine can be given at any time from 20 weeks to the birth of your baby.

For detailed information about protecting your baby, and family, from whooping cough please read the Australian Government Department of Health: National Immunisation Program (A joint Australian, State and Territory Government Initiative) brochure: Protect your baby from Whooping Cough. Vaccinate for free when pregnant 


Mater acknowledges consumer consultation in the development of this patient information.
Mater Doc Num: PI-CLN-430156
Last modified 15/5/2019.
Consumers were consulted in the development of this patient information.
Last consumer engagement date: 10/4/2015
For further translated health information, you can visit healthtranslations.vic.gov.au/ supported by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services that offers a range of patient information in multiple languages.
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