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Whooping Cough Vaccination (Pertussis Vaccination)

Pertussis is a bacterial infection spread by airborne respiratory droplets or through direct contact with respiratory secretions. In infants it causes a severe (life threatening) illness, especially if contracted in the first few months of life when they are incompletely vaccinated. The disease is most often transmitted to infants by close contacts – parents, grandparents or other carers. Pertussis is characterised by a barking cough or whoop which may last for several weeks.

Despite good whooping cough vaccination coverage in Australia, there are regular outbreaks of whooping cough every three to four years. Tens of thousands of people per year may be affected, but no-one knows the real number as many are not officially diagnosed.

Travellers are at risk of contracting the disease just as much as anyone and we strongly encourage travellers be up to date with vaccination for their own protection and for the protection of others (especially newborns they may come into contact with).

Make an appointment today and be protected for life.

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Whooping Cough Vaccination in Perth

Whooping cough vaccination is part of the free standard vaccine schedule for all children in Australia at age 2, 4 and 6 months with boosters at 18 months, 4 years and around 12 years old.

Routine boosters are also recommended at 50 and 65 years old, where the vaccine is combined with tetanus and diphtheria (all in one needle).

In addition, all pregnant women in the third trimester of pregnancy receive the vaccine for free to protect their infant at birth, and all carers of newborns (fathers, grandparents and other carers) are recommended to be up to date with whooping cough vaccination, which means having had the vaccine within the past 10 years and at least 2 weeks before first contact with the infant to allow time for the vaccine to work.

Travellers who are more than 10 years out of date should consider vaccination, particularly if they are due a tetanus shot as well.

Vaccination is safe although a sore arm is quite common for a couple of days. Very rarely there may be more significant swelling around the vaccination site.

Modern whooping cough vaccines have a much lower risk of side effects than the old ‘whole cell’ vaccine, which was phased out in the late 1990’s.

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