Immunisation against whooping cough is normally effective in preventing the disease. If someone gets whooping cough even though they have been vaccinated, vaccination will mean the cough is not as bad.
Immunity can wear off several years after vaccination. Routine immunisation against whooping cough is given to children at 2, 4, 6 and 18 months, and 4 years of age. Children will need a booster between the ages of 11 and 13. While immunised children can still catch whooping cough, the disease is then generally less severe.
To have your child immunised against whooping cough you can visit your local doctor or child health nurse.
Added protection for infants
It is now recommended that all pregnant women receive a pertussis (whooping cough) vaccination during their third trimester (ideally at 28 weeks). A combination of antibodies being passed through the mother’s bloodstream and the reduced risk of the mother catching the disease makes this an ideal time to administer the vaccine. Pertussis vaccine is available free of charge to eligible people under the National Immunisation Program. Speak to your doctor or antenatal care provider to schedule an appointment.
Fathers, grandparents and anyone else who is likely to come into contact with newborns should see their doctor to get a pertussis booster at least 2 weeks before the baby is born.
Last reviewed: March 2019