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Effectiveness of Whooping Cough Vaccines

Español: Eficacia a largo plazo de las vacunas contra la tosferina

Mother and father with two children sitting outside.

Whooping cough vaccines are effective, but are not long lasting. However, they are still the best way to protect against whooping cough and its complications. Getting whooping cough or a whooping cough vaccine (as a child or an adult) does not protect you for a lifetime.

Studies show short-term effectiveness for adolescent and adult whooping cough vaccines

In the first year after people get the whooping cough vaccine for adolescents and adults (called Tdap) about 7 out of 10 people are protected. There is a decrease in effectiveness in each following year. About 3 or 4 out of 10 people are fully protected 4 years after getting Tdap.

In general, Tdap vaccination protects 7 out of 10 people who receive it, but protection fades over time. About 3 or 4 out of 10 people are fully protected 4 years after getting Tdap.

Studies show childhood whooping cough vaccines are effective

In general, DTaP vaccination is effective for up to 8 or 9 out of 10 children who receive it, but protection fades over time. About 7 out of 10 children are fully protected 5 years after getting their last dose of DTaP.

In general, childhood whooping cough vaccines (called DTaP) are effective for 8 or 9 out of 10 children who receive them. Among children who get all 5 doses of DTaP vaccine on schedule, effectiveness is very high within the year following the 5th dose — nearly all children (98 out of 100) are fully protected. There is a modest decrease in effectiveness in each following year. About 7 out of 10 of children are fully protected 5 years after getting their last dose of DTaP vaccine. The other 3 are protected against serious disease.

Whooping cough vaccination helps protect against severe illness in you and your baby

Recent studies have looked at if getting the vaccine (either DTaP or Tdap) can make a difference in your illness if you still get whooping cough. These studies found that if you got the vaccine you are much more likely to have a mild illness compared to those who never received the vaccine. This means that if you get a whooping cough vaccine and still get whooping cough, you will

  • Have fewer coughing fits
  • Have shorter illness
  • Be less likely to suffer from disease complications

By getting the vaccine during pregnancy, you will also transfer antibodies (proteins produced by the body to fight off diseases) to your baby. Studies have shown that if mothers get a whooping cough vaccine while pregnant, it will protect as many as 9 out of 10 babies against whooping cough. Even if your baby gets whooping cough, the transferred antibodies can help protect her against the severe outcomes that come along with the disease. However, for women vaccinated during pregnancy, CDC does not know how long that protection will last. Some studies have shown that the antibodies will last until your baby can start getting her own vaccines. That is why it is critical that your baby starts getting the whooping cough vaccine for children on time at 2 months old.

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