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Vaccination recommendations during pregnancy

Whooping cough

Whooping cough (pertussis) is a highly contagious respiratory infection. It is spread by droplets when an infected person coughs. It is a very serious (and sometimes fatal) disease for babies.

Vaccination during your pregnancy is the best way to protect your baby against whooping cough. The antibodies your body makes in response to vaccination cross the placenta and provide protection for your newborn baby until they can begin their own vaccinations which are recommended from six weeks of age.

The whooping cough vaccination is recommended during every pregnancy so that protection can be provided for each baby. 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. The vaccine is a combination of diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (dTpa) in a reduced dose that is suitable for pregnant women, but still effective. 

It is important that you make an appointment to speak with your family doctor about whooping cough vaccination during your pregnancy.

Other family members

Fathers/partners and family carers such as grandparents and close relatives should, ideally, have the whooping cough vaccination at least two weeks before beginning close contact with your baby if they have not had the dTpa vaccination in the preceding 10 years. Ensure your other children are up to date with their vaccinations. Also, remember to keep your newborn baby away from anyone who is unwell, particularly those with a cough.


Influenza, commonly known as flu, is a viral infection that is easily spread from person to person by droplets produced during coughing and sneezing or by direct contact with respiratory secretions. Influenza is different from a cold as symptoms develop suddenly and include fever, chills, headache, sore throat, coughing, sneezing and muscle aches, and usually last for about one week. Some people will develop serious complications, such as bronchitis and pneumonia, and may need treatment in hospital. Influenza can be fatal.

Pregnant women have a higher risk of complications associated with influenza and you are therefore eligible for the government-funded influenza vaccine. The flu vaccine can be safely given at any time during your pregnancy and can not only protect you but provide ongoing protection to your newborn baby for the first six months after their birth.

Make an appointment to speak with your family doctor about this vaccination during your pregnancy.  The circulating strains of influenza virus change from year to year and the vaccine is updated accordingly. Therefore, you need to be vaccinated each year.

Further information

For further information about vaccination is accessible via the Australian Government website:



Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing. Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation. The Australian Immunisation Handbook. 10th edn. Canberra: 2015. 


Mater acknowledges consumer consultation in the development of this patient information.
Mater Doc Num: PI-CLN-430081
Last modified 17/5/2019.
Consumers were consulted in the development of this patient information.
Last consumer engagement date: 08/8/2018
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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