Whooping Cough Vaccine
A higher than usual number of cases of
commonly known as whooping cough, have been reported in Northern Kentucky recently.
The latest numbers.
Whooping cough can cause serious illness, hospitalization and death — especially in infants who are too young to be fully vaccinated.
Vaccination is the best protection, but because vaccine protection fades over time,
many people will need to be revaccinated to protect against whooping cough as well as tetanus and diphtheria.
Kids are vaccinated against whooping cough as part of their regular schedule of immunizations. It is recommended that children receive five doses of the vaccine, with the first three doses given at one to two months intervals, starting at
eight weeks. The fourth dose should be at least six months after the third dose, commonly at 15-18 months of age. A fifth dose (booster) is given between 4 and 6 years of age. Vaccination should be completed by age 6.
Teens and preteens
Vaccine protection for whooping
cough, tetanus and diphtheria can fade with time. Preteens going to the doctor for their regular check-up at age 11 or 12 years should get a dose of Tdap, a booster for tetanus, diphtheria and
whooping cough. Teens who did not get this vaccine at the 11- or 12-year-old check-up should get vaccinated at their next visit. Getting vaccinated with Tdap is especially important for preteens and teens who will be around infants.
Pregnant women who have not been previously vaccinated with Tdap should get one dose of Tdap preferably during the third trimester or late second trimester — or immediately postpartum before leaving the hospital or birthing center with a newborn
(women who deliver at
St. Elizabeth can get vaccinated at the hospital, as can their families). By getting Tdap during pregnancy, maternal
whooping cough antibodies transfer to the newborn, likely providing protection against
whooping cough in early life, before the baby starts getting DTaP vaccines. Tdap will also protect the mother at time of delivery, making her less likely to transmit
whooping cough to her infant.
Those around the infant — parents, siblings, grandparents (including those 65 years and older), other family members, and
baby-sitters — are encouraged to get the appropriate vaccine (either DTaP or Tdap depending on age) at least two weeks before coming into close contact with the infant.
Adults Parents, grandparents, baby-sitters and any other adult who is going to be around young children should get a Tdap vaccine.
Vaccine protection for
whooping cough, tetanus, and diphtheria fades with time, so adults who have not previously received a Tdap vaccine need a booster shot. Experts recommend adults receive a tetanus and diphtheria booster (called Td) every 10 years and substitute a Tdap vaccine for one of the boosters. The dose of Tdap can be given earlier than the 10-year mark.
Getting vaccinated with Tdap – at least two weeks before coming into close contact with an infant - is especially important for adults who are around infants. Remember that even fully-vaccinated adults can get
whooping cough. If you are caring for infants, check with your healthcare provider about what's best for your situation.
Where to get the vaccine:
The vaccines are also available through the Health Department, with the following guidelines:
- Children age 18 and
under can get the Tdap or DTap vaccine for free through the Vaccines For
Children program, provided that they have a Medical card, KCHIP, no health
insurance or health insurance that doesn't cover the vaccine. The program is
offered at the Health Department's
county health centers and many doctors' offices.
- Adults age 19 and older can get the Tdap booster at the Health Department's county health centers for a $4 administrative fee.To get the vaccine from the Health Department, please call the
county health center most convenient for you to schedule an appointment.