Pertussis vaccination for infants, children and adults

Pertussis vaccination for infants, children and adults

Whooping cough is easily transmitted from person to person by bacteria. It is a respiratory illness that can last for weeks or months. While parents and grandparents usually only suffer from a prolonged, irritating cough, whooping cough can quickly become life-threatening for children.

Very young children who cannot yet be vaccinated often get sick. The very young usually get infected from their parents or older carers, because vaccination protection wanes over the years.

Also, you cannot develop lifelong immunity against pertussis, and you cannot protect your child. That's why you should get vaccinated as early as possible. The pertussis vaccine is part of the 6 times vaccine recommended for children from 2 months of age. Adults should also be vaccinated against pertussis to avoid contracting the bacteria.

The only effective protection against pertussis is vaccination .

The cell-free vaccines used today contain only those components of the pertussis bacteria that are important for the development of effective immune defences. They are produced biotechnologically and are very well tolerated.

Paediatrics in Switzerland is involved in the vaccination of children, including against pertussis.

There is currently no approved monovaccine for older children who have not received primary immunisation and have not had pertussis in the past. A combination vaccine that also contains a tetanus, diphtheria and polio component should be administered.

Pertussis vaccination schedule

Pertussis immunisation is given as a series of 5 injections at the age of:

  • 2 months
  • 4 months
  • 6 months
  • 15-18 months
  • 4-6 years

Possible risks of pertussis immunisation

The vaccine may cause mild side effects:

  • fever ;
  • mild crankiness;
  • fatigue;
  • loss of appetite;
  • soreness, redness, or swelling in the injection area.

In rare cases, your baby may have seizures, fever, or uncontrollable crying after vaccination. But these kinds of side effects are so rare that researchers wonder if they are caused by the vaccine at all. Most babies have a few minor side effects or none at all.

Contraindications to pertussis vaccination

There are few contraindications to vaccination. One of them is active tuberculosis, HIV infection and inherited immune disorders. However, it is often the case that even with such diseases, contraindications to vaccination may be temporary or relate only to certain types of vaccines.

Can the vaccine cause whooping cough?

No. The vaccine contains neutralised particles of pathogens and other selected parts of bacteria against which the body's defences must be activated. Therefore, it is not possible to get whooping cough.

Vaccination against pertussis can simultaneously protect against other infectious diseases such as tetanus, diphtheria, polio, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) and Hepatitis B. Combination vaccines with very good tolerability are available for this purpose. You can consult the best doctors in Switzerland to find the right vaccine and vaccination schedule for you and your child.

And remember, any disease is easier to prevent than to treat and deal with complications.