Whooping Cough

Now is the time to get your family immunised against Whooping Cough!

Whooping cough (also known as pertussis) is a serious and highly contagious medical condition caused by bacterial infection. The disease begins like an ordinary cold, and then a nasty cough develops which can last for many months. After the initial cold-like symptoms, the disease progresses to:

  • Severe coughing bouts
  • ‘Whooping’ sound during inhalation
  • Vomiting after coughing
  • Young children can also stop breathing and turn blue


Why it’s important to get immunised

One in every 200 babies that develop whooping cough will die, and they can catch it from anyone around them. Because it is so contagious, many babies are infected with whooping by people who don’t even know they have it. Immunisation is the best, scientifically proven way to reduce the risk and protect babies in our community.

It’s really important that anyone with symptoms arranges to see a doctor immediately.  Your GP can test for whooping cough and early diagnosis is crucial in stopping the spread of the disease.


Who should get vaccinated?

Immunity from the Boostrix vaccine starts to decrease after two years and is completely gone after ten years. Most people can benefit from immunisation against whooping cough, in particular:

  • Young children from six weeks of age
  • Childcare, healthcare workers
  • Partners of pregnant women
  • People who are in close contact with babies or pregnant women
  • Anyone who isn’t up to date with the Boostrix vaccine should get vaccinated at least two weeks before coming into contact with a baby.

Children should get vaccinated at these ages:

  • 2 months
  • 4 months
  • 6 months
  • 15 to 18 months
  • 4 to 6 years

A further dose is recommended at 11 or 12 years of age, and at 19 years of age if the preteen dose is missed. The vaccine is free of charge to pregnant women.


Where can I find for more information?

For more information, please visit www.health.nsw.gov.au/infectious/whoopingcough, or make an appointment with your doctor.