Babies Need Whooping Cough Vaccines on Time
Once a baby is old enough (2 months), they need to get their whooping cough vaccines. That will be the best way to protect them from whooping cough as they get older. DTaP is the name of the whooping cough vaccine for children (2 months through 6 years). DTaP vaccine combines protection against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (whooping cough).
It is very important for a baby to get DTaP on time so they can start building their own protection against the disease. A baby needs to get DTaP even if mom received a whooping cough vaccine for adults (called Tdap) while pregnant. The antibodies she shared with her baby before birth provide short-term protection during their first months of life, but their DTaP shots provide protection during childhood.
A baby will need several doses of DTaP to best protect them. CDC recommends the first dose when they are 2 months old. One study showed that parents and doctors can prevent many whooping cough deaths among babies. They can do this by making sure all babies receive the first DTaP dose on time. A baby will need 2 more doses after that, given at 4 months and 6 months, to build up high levels of protection. They will then need booster shots at ages 15 through 18 months and 4 through 6 years to maintain that protection.
In the United States, there are currently no whooping cough vaccines licensed or recommended for newborns. Therefore, babies do not get a whooping cough vaccine at birth. This leaves babies unprotected in the first few months of life before they get their own vaccines. This is when they are at greatest risk for catching whooping cough and having severe, potentially life-threating complications from the infection.
Most whooping cough deaths are among babies younger than 3 months old.
The best way you can protect your baby is to: