We’re pleased to announce that from 1 July 2019 funding of the pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine will include pregnant women in the second and third trimester of their pregnancy, as well as parents or primary caregivers of infants admitted to a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit or Specialist Care Baby Unit for more than 3 days. This means you will received the vaccination for free.
Being immunised against whooping cough while you are pregnant can protect your baby until they are old enough to be immunised, because your immunity can be passed on to your baby before they are born.
Whooping cough spreads very easily through coughing and sneezing. It can cause severe, prolonged coughing attacks and may lead to serious complications like pneumonia and brain damage. It is worse for babies under 1 year of age. They are often unable to feed or breathe properly so can become very ill, and may need to be cared for in hospital.
In New Zealand, babies are immunised against whooping cough at ages 6 weeks, 3 months and 5 months, then again at ages 4 and 11 years. They are not well protected from whooping cough until they have had their first three doses.
Unlike some other infectious diseases and immunisations, immunity to whooping cough decreases over time. This means that adults can catch whooping cough even if they have been immunised in the past or have previously had the disease. Many babies catch whooping cough from their older siblings or parents, often before they are old enough to be immunised.
Whooping cough immunisation is recommended and free for pregnant women during the second trimester of pregnancy. Being immunised while you are pregnant can provide added protection for your baby. The whooping cough vaccine is safe for use in pregnancy.
For more information on whooping cough, visit the Immunisation Advisory Centre here.