Protecting babies: whooping cough vaccination boosters for adults

Many people who were vaccinated as children do not realise that by the time we’re all grown up some of our protection no longer works.

In the case of whooping cough, or pertussis, the protection can wane in as little as six to ten years. This means that many of us are wandering around at risk of catching whooping cough ourselves or asympomatically transmitting it to others. This is not so much of a problem for adults we might run into, but for little babies this can mean exposure to a life threatening illness.

Whooping cough is a disease that does not evoke fear in our generation as it did in past generations. It used to be a terrible killer for children before the advent of the pertussis vaccine.

“Whooping cough is a relatively mild disease in adults but has a significant mortality rate in infants. Until immunization was introduced in the 1930s, whooping cough was one of the most frequent and severe diseases of infants in the United States.”
Source: Kenneth Todar, Ph.D. Textbook of Bacteriology

Now many parents are refusing to vaccinate their children against whooping cough and this makes things more dangerous for very young babies. This is a real networked world problem. One person’s decision not to get vaccinated can have implications for the health of those around them.

In Australia the adult booster vaccine typically includes diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis. I had one of these booster shots recently because I knew that I would be spending time with some newborn babies and wanted to ensure they were protected.

Check out this video … and consider consulting your doctor and getting an adult booster shot.

2 comments

  1. This is good to know. 18 months ago, I had whooping cough. It may not kill adults but it is absolutely horrible to have.

    At my worst, I could only walk five steps before stopping to recover and get my breath back.

    The cough itself persisted for 10 weeks and was very uncomfortable. Sleeping through the night was pretty much impossible, as it woke me multiple times.

    I was around a friend’s newly born baby at one stage before I was diagnosed and was horrified that I could give that to a child. Luckily I had the cough and was passed the contagious stage.

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