Surround Babies with Protection

Grandparents holding their grandson

Moms can provide indirect protection to their baby by making sure everyone who is around them is up to date with their whooping cough vaccine. When their 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.

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 who could get babies sick, including grandparents and caregivers.

Cocooning may help protect baby from whooping cough

It is true that cocooning may indirectly protect 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 the baby. Also, it can be difficult to make sure everyone who is around the baby has gotten their whooping cough vaccine.

Since cocooning does not completely protect babies from whooping cough, it is even more important that women get vaccinated while pregnant.  By doing so, she will pass some short-term protection to her baby until they can get their own vaccine at two months of age.

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

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.

All adults should get vaccinated against whooping cough

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