Pertussis (whooping cough): prevention

How can pertussis infections be prevented?

The pertussis vaccine is given by needle and it is very safe. Side effects of a pertussis vaccine are very mild and usually go away within a few days.

A child under 6 years old needs five doses of the pertussis vaccine, starting at 2 months of age. Protection from the vaccine fades over time, so it's important to get a booster dose.

You may need a booster dose for pertussis if:

  • you are a teen between 14 and 16 years;
  • you are an adult and you were not immunized against pertussis as an adult;
  • you are between 27 and 32 weeks of pregnancy. Note: if you are unable to receive the booster at this stage in your pregnancy, you can talk to your doctor about getting it earlier or later as it will still provide some protection to your baby.

If you are in regular contact with an infant, it is very important to be immunized. If you require a booster vaccine, make sure to get it at least 2 weeks before being in contact with the baby.

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