Babies Need Whooping Cough Vaccines on Time
Your baby needs his whooping cough vaccine on time as it is the best way to prevent whooping cough during childhood. The whooping cough vaccine for children (2 months through 6 years) is called DTaP. DTaP vaccine combines protection against whooping cough, tetanus and diphtheria.
Vaccinate your baby on time to continue protecting against whooping cough
Most whooping cough deaths are among babies younger than 3 months of age.
It is very important for your baby to get his whooping cough vaccine (DTaP) on time so he can start building his own protection against the disease. Your baby will need several doses of DTaP vaccine to best protect him, even if you received the whooping cough vaccine for adults (called Tdap) while pregnant. The antibodies he got from you provide short-term protection, but his DTaP shots provide protection during childhood. His first dose is when he is 2 months old. He will need 2 more doses after that, given at 4 months and 6 months, to build up high levels of protection, and then booster shots at 15 through 18 months and at 4 through 6 years to maintain that protection.
Newborns cannot be vaccinated for whooping cough
There are currently no whooping cough vaccines licensed or recommended for newborns at birth. The best way you can protect your baby is to:
- Get a whooping cough vaccine while you are pregnant
- Encourage those around your baby to get a whooping cough vaccine
- Have your baby get DTaP vaccines on time according to CDC's immunization schedule [441KB, 2 pages]
Early immunity could affect your baby’s DTaP vaccine response
By getting a whooping cough vaccine while you are pregnant, your baby will gain short-term whooping cough protection (antibodies, which are proteins produced by the body to fight off diseases) during the most vulnerable time as a young baby. There is a chance that providing this early immunity could affect the way your baby’s immune system responds to his DTaP vaccine. Although your baby’s immune response to his vaccine may not be as strong because you got your whooping cough vaccine while you were pregnant, it is still enough to help protect your baby. Also, the benefits of getting the vaccine during pregnancy to protect your newborn outweigh the potential risk of decreasing his response to DTaP vaccine. Since young babies are at greatest risk of severe disease and death from whooping cough — when their immune systems are least developed — any protection that you can provide at this young age is critical. Your baby should receive his DTaP vaccines on schedule [441KB, 2 pages], starting at 2 months of age.
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