About the pertussis vaccine

  • The pertussis vaccine protects against pertussis, a serious infection of the respiratory system caused by the pertussis bacteria.
  • The pertussis vaccine is combined with several other vaccines such as, the Tetanus-Diphtheria-acellular Pertussis (Tdap) vaccine  
  • It’s included as part of the routine infant and children’s immunization schedule, usually as a 3 dose series.
  • Alike other vaccines, pertussis vaccines require a booster to remind your immune system how to fight against pertussis.

  • Pertussis vaccination is recommended for people of all ages. 
  • You need the primary series and a booster dose to be fully protected. If you missed your booster dose, your body may not continue to protect itself from pertussis.
  • It is recommended that all pregnant people get a pertussis vaccine in every pregnancy.

3 dose primary series: Diphtheria, Tetanus, Acellular Pertussis, Hepatitis B, Polio, and Haemophilus Influenza Type  (DTaP-HB-IPV-Hib) vaccine

  • This is a combination vaccine which protects infants from Diphtheria, Tetanus, Acellular Pertussis, Hepatitis B, Polio, and Haemophilus Influenza Type b (DTaP- HB- IPV- Hib).
  • This vaccine is given as a series of 3 doses to infants at 2 months, 4 months and 6 months of age. 

Booster dose at 18 months of age: Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Polio, Haemophilus (DTaP-IPV-Hib) vaccine

  • This vaccine is given as a booster dose to infants at 18 months of age, after the 3 dose primary series is complete.

Booster dose at 4 to 6 years of age: Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis, Polio (Tdap-IPV) vaccine

  • This vaccine is given as a booster dose to children 4 to 6 years of age who have already been vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and polio at a younger age. 

Grade 9 booster: Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis (Tdap) vaccine

  • This vaccine is given as a booster dose for all Grade 9 students who have already been immunized against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis at a younger age. 
  • All pregnant women should receive the Tdap vaccine, regardless of previous Tdap immunization history.
  • Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is an extremely contagious bacterial infection of the respiratory system.
  • Pertussis bacteria is spread by sneezing, coughing or direct contact with an infected person or contaminated surface.
  • Pertussis infection starts like the common cold and symptoms usually include runny nose, red watery eyes, mild fever and cough.
  • After 1 to 2 weeks, the disease progresses causing serious coughing fits, often followed by a “whooping” sound as the individual tries to catch their breath.
  • The cough can lead to gagging, choking or vomiting and can last for weeks, or even up to two months.
  • Babies may have a symptom known as “apnea”, which is a pause in the child’s breathing pattern.
  • Pertussis is most dangerous for pregnant women and babies under 1 year, especially if they are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated.
  • Pertussis infection can lead to pneumonia, heart and nerve damage, broken ribs, convulsions, brain damage or death. These complications are more common in infants.
  • There are frequent outbreaks in Canada, including 1 in the summer of 2012 in the Yukon. Pertussis usually continues to circulate in the affected community for about a year.
  • This vaccine is safe and very effective.
  • Vaccination is the best way to protect against pertussis and its complications.
  • The pertussis vaccine is combined with other vaccines to protect you or your child against other infections with fewer shots.
  • When you or your child get vaccinated, you help protect the spread to others too.
  • Getting vaccinated during pregnancy protects you and your baby against serious birth complications and even protects your baby during the first few months following birth. The Tdap vaccine is safe to receive during pregnancy because it is an inactivated vaccine which means it does not contain any live bacteria or viruses.
  • This vaccination is free in the Yukon for those who need it.
  • Most children and adults have no reactions to immunization.
  • For people that do, the most common reaction is swelling and redness with or without tenderness around the injection site.
  • A few people may develop fever, headaches or muscle pain. These reactions are mild, and generally last 1 or 2 days. If this is the case with you or your child, you may choose to give or take a fever medication such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
  • Some infants may experience drowsiness, irritability or loss of appetite following immunization.
  • Side effects of the immunization are easily relieved by applying a cold and damp compress to the site and administering acetaminophen or ibuprofen for temperatures 38.5°C or higher. See your health care provider if your symptoms are severe or last longer than 48 hours.
  • It is important to stay in the clinic for 15 minutes after getting any immunization because there is a rare possibility of developing a severe allergic reaction which is treatable at the clinic. This happens to fewer than 1 in 1 million people. If it happens after you leave the clinic, call 911 or the local emergency number. If you or your child experiences any serious or unexpected reactions, contact your physician and report all severe reactions to one of the nurses at your local Health Centre.

Find out how to get immunized