Whooping cough (pertussis)

Contagious bacteria spread by droplets. Causes uncontrolled coughing and vomiting lasting up to three months.

Effects of the disease

About one in 200 whooping cough patients under the age of 6 months dies from pneumonia or brain damage.

How to immunise and when

Immunisation with a DTPa-containing (diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough) vaccine is the best way to prevent whooping cough. DTPa-containing vaccine is given at 2, 4 and 6 months of age (but can be given from 6 weeks) with a booster dose at four years of age, that can be given from 3 years 6 months of age.

Side effects of immunisation

About one in 10 has local inflammation at the site of injection or fever. Serious adverse events are very rare.

If you have any concerns about side effects of vaccines, talk to your doctor or nurse.

Page last updated: 10 Aug 2017