Pertussis vaccination for pregnant women

  14 November 2019  Australian Government Department of Health   |   Third party content – view disclaimer

The whooping cough (pertussis)-containing vaccine is provided free to pregnant women through the National Immunisation Program.

The most important factor associated with uptake of vaccination during pregnancy is a health care provider recommendation. Please take all opportunities to speak to your pregnant patients and their partners about the importance of getting vaccinated against pertussis during pregnancy.

Please be reminded that the evidence around the timing of pertussis vaccination in pregnancy has recently been reviewed and the pertussis-containing vaccine is now recommended as a single dose between 20 and 32 weeks in each pregnancy, including pregnancies that are closely spaced to provide maximal protection to each infant.  This advice is reflected in the Australian Immunisation Handbook at

Key messages

  • Antenatal vaccination is recommended to protect both pregnant women and their babies from pertussis and its complications.
  • Maternal antibodies against pertussis provide protection to babies until they have received at least two doses of pertussis containing vaccines (at six weeks and four months of age).
  • Babies less than six months of age are at greatest risk of severe disease and death from pertussis.

Information for health care providers, including a clinical advice fact sheet and promotional materials are available at

With the Australian Government Department of Health.

Disclaimer: This article was provided by Australian Government Department of Health. While every effort has been made to ensure the information is accurate, North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network does not warrant or represent the accuracy, currency and completeness of any information or material included within.