​What is the recommendation for women who have received a pertussis vaccine prior to their current pregnancy? 

Women should receive a pertussis vaccine with every pregnancy, even if pregnancies are closely spaced. It is preferable to leave at least 12 months between doses of a pertussis containing vaccine (eg. Boostrix or Adacel) as the risk of a local reaction to the vaccine (pain and/or swelling at the injection site) increases with multiple doses, particularly if given close together in time.  The whooping cough vaccine is usually given to pregnant women at 28 weeks (can be given anytime between 20-32 weeks) of each pregnancy and should be given as early as possible (from 20 weeks) to women who have been identified as being at high risk of early delivery. If a woman has received a dose of pertussis vaccine in the months prior to falling pregnant, the pregnancy dose can be given later than 28 weeks in the third trimester to maximise the time between doses while still boosting immune levels to pass onto the baby.

What if a woman has previously been given dTpa (diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis) vaccine earlier in her pregnancy?

Although 20-32 weeks is the optimal time for vaccination, if a  woman has received dTpa vaccine in the first or early second trimester, she does not need to be vaccinated again in her current pregnancy or in the post-natal period. 

What if a woman is given a tetanus booster (ADT) during pregnancy?

If a woman has received an ADT vaccination (for a wound) it is still important that she have a dTpa vaccination to provide whooping cough protection for her newborn. It is preferable to leave at least 4 weeks between the ADT and the dTpa. 

Do infants of pregnant women who receive pertussis vaccine during pregnancy require an   18-month booster dose?

The Australian Immunisation Handbook​ recommends that ALL children receive a booster dose at 18 months of age. This is due to the waning immunity observed in all infants, resulting in an increased number of pertussis cases in 2-3 year olds. 
For more information visit the NSW Antenatal Pertussis Vaccination Program website. 
Current as at: Wednesday 8 May 2019
Contact page owner: Immunisation