You need multiple whooping cough vaccinations to protect you throughout your life.
Whooping cough vaccines are free for pregnant people, all children under 18 years old and adults from 45 and 65 years old.
During every pregnancy
Protecting your tamariki from whooping cough starts during pregnancy.
Whooping cough is particularly dangerous for babies — especially those who have not been vaccinated. More than half of babies under 12 months old who catch whooping cough need to go to hospital, and up to 1 in 50 of these babies die.
By getting immunised when you are pregnant, you will protect your pēpi until they can have their first immunisations when they are 6 weeks old. This is because your immunity passes to your baby through the placenta.
It is most effective when given from 16 to 26 weeks of pregnancy, but is available and free from 13 weeks of every pregnancy.
Pregnancy and immunisations
6 weeks old
As babies get older, the immunity that crossed from the placenta gets weaker and so they need their own immunity from whooping cough as soon as possible.
When your pēpi turns 6 weeks old they should get the first of their 3 doses of the whooping cough vaccine.
3 months old
At 3 months old, a second dose of the whooping cough vaccine is due.
5 months old
At 5 months old, a third dose of the whooping cough vaccine is due.
4 years old
Protection against whooping cough weakens over time, so it is important that tamariki have a booster when they turn 4 years old – before they start school.
From 11 years old
Another booster to help protect against whooping cough is recommended from 11 years old.
It is available through some schools for students in Year 7 and is also free from your doctor, nurse, or healthcare provider.
Certain adults are recommended to have a whooping cough booster at least every 10 years. This includes people who:
- work with young children and vulnerable people
- live with a newborn baby
- are at higher risk of severe illness from whooping cough, for example those with chronic respiratory disease.
Free tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough vaccine (Boostrix) are offered:
- from 13 weeks of every pregnancy — consider booking Boostrix between 16 and 26 weeks of pregnancy as this is when the vaccine is most effective
- for some people aged 45 years old
- for everyone from 65 years old — if you have already had a free tetanus and diphtheria vaccine from age 65, you will not be eligible for a free Boostrix vaccine.
If you are not eligible for a free whooping cough booster, they can be purchased. Your vaccinator can give you advice on how often it is recommended you have a booster.
It will cost between $40 and $90 depending on where you book.