Pregnant women urged to vaccinate against Whooping Cough

Lovely Tredente receives the whooping cough vaccination from Antenatal Clinic Coordinator Tesa Pilkinton.

7 September 2016

At 30 weeks pregnant, mother-to-be Lovely Tredente and her partner Mike, both understand the importance of being vaccinated against whooping cough for the good health of themselves and their unborn child. 

After moving to New Zealand from the Phillipines earlier this year, 22 year old Lovely believes every pregnant mother should be given advice about immunisation to make an informed decision.

“My midwife told me that immunisation was the best way to protect my baby against whooping cough.  She said the vaccine was safe for me during my pregnancy and it would allow my immunity to whooping cough to be passed onto my baby,” said Ms Tredente.

Taranaki DHB is urging pregnant women to vaccinate against whooping cough following 37 confirmed cases in the region so far this year.

Tesa Pilkinton, Taranaki DHB Antenatal Clinic Coordinator said, “The recommendation for vaccination during pregnancy is between 28 and 38 weeks so that immunity can be passed to the baby when they are born. This immunity protects them until they get their first vaccinations at 6 weeks of age.”

“Immunising a pregnant woman offers protection to the mother, the unborn baby and the newborn baby.  Once born, babies need to be immunised on time – at six weeks, three months and five months.  They need three doses of the vaccine to be protected against whooping cough, even if mothers were immunised during pregnancy.”

Whooping cough (or pertussis) is a highly contagious illness that is caused by a bacterium (Bordetella pertussis). It is spread by an infected person through droplets produced during coughing or sneezing, which is why it is important to keep babies away from people with coughs and to avoid coughing on babies.

Symptoms start with a runny nose and dry cough. The coughing gets worse over the next few weeks developing into attacks of coughing. The ‘whoop’ sound occurs as children draw a breath after a long coughing attack, although in some cases, there is no whooping sound. They may also vomit and stop breathing.  The symptoms tend to be worse at night.  The old name of the disease is the cough of 100 days.

Dr Jonathan Jarman, Taranaki DHB Medical Officer of Health said, “Most cases in Taranaki are currently in older people with the average age being 27 years old.  Although there have been no recent pertussis deaths in Taranaki, on average there are zero to one deaths each year in New Zealand.  A recent study of deaths caused by pertussis in New Zealand showed that there were eight deaths between 2002 and 2014. Almost all of them were in very young children who caught the infection before the age of 6 weeks. ”

The Whooping Cough vaccination is free for children and pregnant women.  There is a drop-in immunisation clinic inside the Antenatal Clinic at Taranaki Base Hospital which is open every Tuesday between 2-3pm.  Pregnant mothers are welcome to attend the drop-in clinic or can arrange a vaccination appointment through their midwife.


For more information please call
Beth Findlay-Heath
Communications Advisor
021 665 017


Last updated: Friday, October 7, 2016

About Us | Contact Us | Find Us | Sitemap | Disclaimer | Ministry of Health | New Zealand Government | Te Whatu Ora Taranaki Private Bag 2016 New Plymouth 4340 | © 2010