Whooping cough is currently in Aotearoa New Zealand and as it's very infectious it's important that as many people as possible are protected from catching it. Young children (less than a year old) are particularly at risk of severe illness and hospitalisation with whooping cough.
Here are some reminders about protection:
- It's important to protect those who are most vulnerable – this is babies from 6 weeks old.
- The whooping cough vaccination is free for people who are eligible from GPs and some pharmacies. Vaccination is free for:
- all children and young people aged under 18 years
- pregnant people
- all adults at 45 and 65 years of age as immunity reduces (same vaccine as the tetanus booster)
- some groups at higher risk of becoming very unwell if they catch whooping cough (eg, people with chronic respiratory conditions, congenital heart disease or with a weakened immune system).
- Babies and young children should get their vaccine doses on-time at 6 weeks, 3 months and 5 months. Booster doses are then available at 4 and 11 years old.
- Immunising people who are pregnant protects babies in their first 6 weeks of life until they can receive their own immunisation.
Remember that COVID-19 is still circulating so if you have any respiratory symptoms such as a cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, head cold or loss of smell, with or without fever, do a COVID test.
When should I seek help?
Complications of whooping cough are most likely to happen in babies and young children.
See your healthcare provider if your child:
- is less than 1 year old and they have had contact with someone with whooping cough
- has a cough that goes on for a long time without any pauses, or has a cough that ends in vomiting (being sick)
- has had a daily cough that lasts longer than 2 weeks
- is less than 3 months old and has a cough.
Dial 111 for urgent medical help if your baby:
- goes blue when coughing
- stops breathing
- has a seizure
- is becoming very sleepy and not easy to rouse (wake up).