ABOUT THE VACCINE
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Who should get the pertussis vaccine?
The pertussis vaccine is recommended for infants, young children, school-age children, and adults. It is recommended that all pregnant people get a pertussis vaccine in every pregnancy.
The pertussis vaccine is combined with other vaccines so that you or your child can get protection against several diseases with fewer shots. There are many different combination vaccines used to prevent pertussis.
Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Hepatitis B, Polio, and Haemophilus influenzae type b (DTaP-HB-IPV-Hib) Vaccine
- This vaccine is given to babies as a series of 3 doses at 2, 4, and 6 months of age. They should get this vaccine at the same time as other childhood immunizations.
Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Polio, Haemophilus influenzae type b (DTaP-IPV-Hib) Vaccine
- This vaccine is given to children as a booster dose at 18 months of age after completing a three-dose primary series of DTaP-HB-IPV-Hib.
Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis, Polio (Tdap-IPV) Vaccine
- This vaccine is given as one dose to children 4-6 years of age. This is a booster dose for children who were immunized against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, and polio at a younger age. The booster dose strengthens or boosts the immune system to give better protection against these diseases.
Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis (Tdap) Vaccine
- This vaccine is offered to all students in Grade 9. This is a booster dose for children immunized against these diseases at a younger age. The booster dose strengthens or boosts the immune system to give better protection against these diseases. Children who received a booster dose of Tdap vaccine on or after their 10th birthday do not need a dose in grade 9.
- The Tdap vaccine is recommended and provided free to pregnant people in every pregnancy. The vaccine should be given at 27-32 weeks of pregnancy regardless of previous Tdap immunization history but may be given as early as 13 weeks and up until delivery. Learn more about the Tdap vaccine and pregnancy in our pregnancy section.
- Children 7 years of age and older and adults who have not been fully immunized or whose immunization history is unknown can also get the vaccine.
- A booster dose of the Tdap vaccine is recommended, but not provided free, for adults who were immunized in childhood. Adults who want to get the vaccine can buy it at most pharmacies and travel clinics.
- People born in 1989 or later who missed their adolescent dose of Tdap are eligible to receive one dose of this vaccine for free.
What are the benefits of getting the pertussis vaccine?
The vaccine is the best way to protect against pertussis, a serious and sometimes fatal disease. When you or your child get immunized, you help protect others as well.
What are the side effects?
Vaccines are very safe. It is much safer to get the vaccine than it is to get pertussis.
Many people have no side effects from these vaccines. For those that do, side effects are usually mild and last 1 to 2 days (see a list of common side effects for each vaccine below). Serious side effects are extremely rare.
It is important to stay in the clinic for 15 minutes after getting any vaccine because there is an extremely rare possibility of anaphylaxis, which is a life-threatening allergic reaction. This may include hives, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the throat, tongue, or lips. The chance of true anaphylaxis is about 1 in 1 million vaccine doses. Should this reaction occur, your health care provider is prepared to treat it. Emergency treatment includes administration of epinephrine (adrenaline) and transfer by ambulance to the nearest emergency department. If symptoms develop after you leave the clinic, call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number. Learn more about anaphylaxis on our vaccine side effects page.
It is important to always report serious or unexpected reactions to your health care provider.
Common side effects may include soreness, redness, and swelling where the vaccine was given. Some children may have a fever or experience crankiness, restlessness, vomiting, diarrhea, persistent crying, or a loss of appetite. These reactions are mild and usually last 1 to 2 days.
Common side effects may include soreness, redness, and swelling where the vaccine was given. Some children may have a fever, or experience crankiness, drowsiness, loss of appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea. These reactions are mild and generally last 1 to 2 days. Large areas of redness and swelling may be present but these generally do not interfere with normal activity.
Common side effects may include may include soreness, redness, and swelling where the vaccine was given. Fever, chills, headache, and tiredness may also occur. These reactions are mild and generally last 1 to 2 days. Large areas of redness and swelling may be present but these generally do not interfere with normal activity.
Common side effects may include soreness, redness and swelling in the arm where the vaccine was given. Headache, tiredness, muscle or joint soreness, chills, nausea, diarrhea and mild fever may also occur.
ABOUT THE DISEASE
- Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a serious infection of the airways caused by pertussis bacteria.
- The bacteria are easily spread by coughing, sneezing, or close face-to-face contact.
- Pertussis starts like a common cold with symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, mild fever, and a mild cough. Over the next two weeks, the cough gets worse, leading to severe, repeated, and forceful coughing spells that often end with a whooping sound before the next breath.
- The cough of pertussis can last several months and occurs more often at night.
- The cough can make a person gag or spit out mucus and make it hard to take a breath.
- In babies, pertussis can cause periods of apnea (pause in breathing).
- Pertussis can cause pneumonia, seizures, brain damage, or death. These complications are seen most often in infants.
- About 1 in 170 infants who get pertussis may die.