Antenatal pertussis vaccination recommendations

17 July 2019

Timing of pertussis vaccination

The range of timing of pertussis vaccination for pregnant women has been recently expanded from 28-32 weeks to 20-32 weeks gestation. These recent changes are expected to benefit pregnant women at risk of pre-term delivery by increasing their opportunities to receive the vaccine.

Vaccinating at 28 weeks

However it has been acknowledged that this may be disruptive to established protocols to vaccinate at the 28 week visit, potentially reducing effectiveness of the current programmatic approach. Therefore, pregnant women should continue to routinely receive their pertussis vaccination at their 28 week visit.

Vaccination at 20 weeks

Women identified as being at high risk of preterm birth, or unlikely to attend a 28 week visit for any reason, should receive their pertussis vaccination at 20 weeks or as soon as possible after this time.

Vaccination after 32 weeks

Women who do not receive the vaccine before 32 weeks should still receive the vaccination as soon as possible, at any time up until delivery.

Protection for infant

Vaccination during pregnancy provides the infant with protection against the disease by the transfer of antibodies through the placenta, and protects the infant during the first weeks of life before they can receive their own vaccinations from six weeks of age.

Pertussis vaccine is provided free under the National Immunisation Program for pregnant women during each pregnancy.

Further information: