Surround Babies with Protection

Grandparents holding an infant

You can provide indirect protection to your baby by making sure everyone who is around him is up to date with their whooping cough vaccine. When your baby’s family members and caregivers get a whooping cough vaccine, they are not only protecting their own health, but also helping form a “cocoon” of disease protection around the baby during the first few months of life. Anyone who is around babies should be up to date with their whooping cough vaccine.

Your baby is most likely to catch whooping cough from someone at home

Researchers investigate reported cases of whooping cough to better understand the disease, including how it spreads. In some studies they have been able to identify how a baby caught whooping cough. They determined that in most cases, someone in the baby’s household, including parents and siblings, got the child sick. These studies also show that there are many other people that could get babies sick, including grandparents and caregivers.

Cocooning may help protect your baby from whooping cough

Encourage others to get a whooping cough vaccine at least 2 weeks before meeting your baby if they are not up to date with their whooping cough vaccines.

It is true that cocooning may indirectly protect your baby from whooping cough, but it might not be enough to prevent whooping cough illness and death. This is because cocooning does not provide any direct protection (antibodies) to your baby, and it can be difficult to make sure everyone who is around your baby has gotten their whooping cough vaccine. Since cocooning does not completely protect babies from whooping cough, it is even more important that you get the vaccine while you are pregnant; you will pass some short-term protection to your baby until he can get his own vaccine.

Cocooning, in combination with getting a whooping cough vaccine during your pregnancy and making sure your baby gets his vaccines on time, provides the best protection possible to your baby.

All adults should get vaccinated against whooping cough

Adults 19 years old or older should get a Tdap vaccine, even if they are not pregnant, if they have never received the shot before. This should be followed by either a Td or Tdap shot every 10 years.

Top of Page