Vaccine Information You Need
Vaccine-Preventable Diseases
Whooping Cough (pertussis)

Whooping Cough (pertussis)

Vaccine-Preventable Diseases
Whooping cough is a serious disease caused by bacteria. It is called whooping cough because of the "whoop" heard when a person who has it gasps for breath. Whooping cough is also known as pertussis.
Whooping cough is spread through the air by coughing and sneezing. It is very contagious.
Whooping cough can trigger coughing so severe that it results in vomiting and broken ribs. The cough can last for weeks or months. More than half of babies younger than one year old who get whooping cough are hospitalized. Babies are the most likely to die from whooping cough or have complications such as seizures and brain damage.
Whooping cough is most dangerous for babies, but anyone can become seriously ill from it.
You can protect yourself (and others) by getting vaccinated.
Whooping Cough Vaccine Schedule
All infants, children, and teens should be vaccinated against whooping cough. The vaccine for infants and children is combined with diphtheria and tetanus vaccine as DTaP. The schedule is 4 doses at 2, 4, 6 and 12–15 months of age. A DTaP booster dose is recommended at 4–6 years. The adolescent and adult vaccine is called Tdap. A dose of Tdap is recommended for all adolescents at 11–12 years of age. Pregnant women need a dose of Tdap in the third trimester of every pregnancy to protect themselves and to transfer pertussis immunity to their newborn infant. Adults who have not had Tdap should get a dose of Tdap to protect themselves, then a Tdap or Td booster every 10 years thereafter.
Trusted Websites
Whooping Cough (pertussis)
Whooping Cough (pertussis)
What you should know about the the disease from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Information about Whooping Cough (pertussis)
Information about Whooping Cough (pertussis)
Includes information about the disease, immunization, and resources for parents from the American Academy of Pediatrics
Information about Chickenpox (varicella)
Information about Pertussis
Vaccines.gov provides resources from federal agencies for the general public and their communities about vaccines across the lifespan
A Look at Each Vaccine: Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccines
A Look at Each Vaccine: Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis
Questions and answers about the disease and vaccines from the Vaccine Education Center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
View all diseases and vaccines
Video Library
Video: Pertussis Vaccination? My Story
Pertussis Vaccination? My Story: Whooping cough is a dangerous disease that can be catastrophic for infants. This is one mother's story of the tragic loss of her infant son Abe from whooping cough (pertussis) and her heart wrenching message to the community.
>> view all whooping cough videos
Personal Testimonies
Stories of suffering and loss from whooping cough
The Death of Colin, Pamela and Kevin Durkin's Infant Son
The Hospitalization of Colin, Mary-Clayton Enderlein's Newborn Son
Long-ago Bane of Whooping Cough Making a Stealthy Resurgence
Ramona's Story
>> view all personal testimonies
More Whooping Cough Information
Whooping Cough: Make sure your child is protected
Whooping Cough: Make sure your child is protected (IAC)
1-page summary for parents
>> Spanish-language
Protect Yourself from Whooping Cough
Protect Yourself from Whooping Cough (IAC)
1-page summary for teens and adults
>> Spanish-language
Whooping Cough: Questions and Answers
Whooping Cough Q&As (IAC)
Whooping cough disease and vaccine information
Cocooning Protects Babies
Cocooning Protects Babies (IAC)
Important information for families
Whooping Cough: Overview for Parents
Overview for Parents (CDC)
Frequently asked questions
>> Spanish-language
Whooping Cough: What You Should Know
What You Should Know (VEC)
Whooping cough Q&A fact sheet
>> Spanish-language
Vaccines and Your Baby
Vaccines and Your Baby (VEC)
Brochure for parents about childhood immunizations, explains how vaccines work, answers common questions about vaccines, and lists additional resources
Whooping Cough Photos
Some of the images are quite graphic
>> view all whooping cough photos
This page was updated on October 9, 2020.
This page was reviewed on October 9, 2020.
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The Immunization Action Coalition (IAC), a non-profit organization, works to increase immunization rates and prevent disease by creating and distributing educational materials for health professionals and the public that enhance delivery of safe and effective immunization services. IAC also facilitates communication about the safety, efficacy, and use of vaccines within the broad immunization community of patients, parents, healthcare organizations, and government health agencies.