Pertussis vaccine for parents

Posted on: 05/18/2011

Parents and caregivers of infants should obtain a pertussis/tetanus/diphtheria vaccination booster for themselves as soon as possible.  Pertussis, or whooping cough, is a serious bacterial infection of the lungs.  We know that most babies who get pertussis catch it from a parent, sibling or caregiver.

Young infants who get pertussis are at risk for lung damage, brain damage and death.  Infant vaccines include pertussis (the "P" of DTaP vaccine), but it takes a series of vaccines given over months for the infant's immune system to establlish full protection.

Siblings age 11 and up should also receive Tdap vaccine.  Immunity from pertussis vaccination in early childhood wears off by about the age of ten.  Pertussis infection in older children or adults causes a prolonged cough, but is often unrecognized or incorrectly assumed to be a bad cold.

We recommend that parents and caregivers of infants receive a Tdap booster.  Everyone age 11 or older who interacts with your baby should also receive a Tdap booster.  For your convenience, Tonawanda/Island pediatrics offers the vaccine to all family members.

Back to article