PHE whooping cough vaccination in pregnancy guideline
Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a respiratory infection caused by Bordetella pertussis bacteria. Pertussis usually begins with mild, cold-like symptoms which develop over 1 to 2 weeks into coughing fits which can be severe. Pertussis most commonly affects infants and very young infants are at highest risk of serious complications, of needing admission to hospital or of dying.
Not all women make sufficiently high levels of antibodies following natural infection to ensure high levels can be passed across the placenta to the infant. As high levels of antibodies are made following vaccination, offering vaccine from 16 weeks to 32 weeks of pregnancy should ensure that optimal antibody levels can be passed to the baby.