Whooping Cough - DTaP, Tdap

About the Vaccine:

Vaccines are the most effective method of preventing the disease. Immunized people can still contract the disease, but the effects are typically not as bad.


There are several different vaccines that protect against pertussis, depending on the person’s age. Some of them provide additional protection against tetanus, diphtheria and other diseases.

  • Tdap
  • DTaP

Who should get the vaccine:

  • Babies
  • Children
  • Pre-teens
  • Teens
  • Pregnant women
  • Adults who have never received it

Schedule information:

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

Babies need three doses of DTaP followed by two boosters in childhood.

Pre-teens should get a Tdap booster at 11-12 or as soon as possible as teens.

Pregnant women should get a Tdap vaccination during the third trimester of each pregnancy.

Adults should receive a booster dose of Tdap every 10 years.

Tdap and DTaP are combination vaccines that provide protection against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis all in one shot.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Safety & side effects:

Just as with any medication, there are potential side effects to vaccines. Talk to your health care provider about specific side effects associated with this vaccine and learn more about vaccine safety and common side effects.

Pregnancy considerations:

Pregnant women should receive the Tdap vaccine during the third trimester of each pregnancy.

The mother is able to pass along immunity received from the vaccine to her baby until they are old enough to receive a vaccination of their own.

Worldwide, there are an estimated 24.1 million cases of pertussis and about 160,700 deaths per year.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

About Pertussis

Pertussis (whooping cough) is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by Bordetella pertussis bacteria.

Pertussis is known for uncontrollable, violent coughing, which often makes it hard to breathe. After coughing fits, someone with pertussis often needs to take deep breaths, which result in a “whooping” sound.

Pertussis can affect people of all ages but can be very serious, even deadly, for babies less than 1 year old.


Pertussis spreads from person to person by coughing or sneezing or by sharing breathing space for an extended period of time.

Babies are often unknowingly infected by family members or caretakers who don’t know they are carrying the disease.


Early symptoms are often mistaken for the common cold resulting in late diagnosis in most cases.
  • Runny nose
  • Low-grade fever
  • Mild cough
  • Apnea (babies)
Traditional symptoms typically develop within 1-2 weeks of infection.
  • Coughing fits
  • Vomiting during or after fits
  • Exhaustion after coughing fits

Coughing fits due to pertussis infection can last for up to 10 weeks or more; some people know this disease as the “100 day cough.”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention