Information For Patients

Increase in cases of Whooping Cough (pertussis)

There has been an increase in the number of cases of Whooping Cough in recent months. So far in 2013 there have been more than 130 cases of whooping cough and there was over 450 cases in 2012. Most cases have been in babies less than 6 months of age and sadly two babies died as a result of whooping cough in 2012. Pertussis (Whooping cough) is a contagious bacterial disease that spreads by close contact with an infected person and causes a ‘whooping’ cough and vomiting. The disease can last up to three months.

It is important all children are vaccinated on time every time.

The childhood schedule as per the Immunisation Guidelines for Ireland from the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) is

  • Primary immunisation course of 3 doses of 6 in 1 vaccine at 2, 4, and 6 months of age (given by GPs). Available at Athboy Family Practice.
  • A booster dose at 4-5 years as 4 in 1 vaccine (given by HSE vaccination teams in school.
  • A second low dose booster between 11 and 14 years as Tdap (given to 1st year students in school).

Adults who wish to reduce the risk of infection to themselves and infants may get a booster vaccine (Tdap). In these instances the vaccine must be sourced privately and there will be a charge for the administration. (Available at Athboy Family Practice please contact surgery to arrange an appointment or to discuss with Practice Nurse.)
A Tdap booster vaccination is now recommended for pregnant women between 27 – 36 weeks of your pregnancy. Giving the vaccine at this time will give your baby the best protection.

How long does the protection from whooping cough vaccine last?
The immunity from previous vaccination lasts about 10 years so adolescents and adults may get whooping cough again.
How does the whooping cough vaccine protect you and your baby?
The vaccine stimulates your immune system to produce high levels of antibodies to the whooping cough bacteria. These antibodies will also pass to your baby in the womb and protect them during the first few months of life.
If you or your baby are in contact with whooping cough the antibodies will attack these bacteria and will protect you and your baby from whooping cough.
The antibodies you pass to your baby in the womb decline rapidly in the first six months of life so it is important your baby gets the routine childhood vaccines (which include whooping cough vaccine) on time at 2, 4 and 6 months.


Pregnancy Leaflet English
Tdap vaccine

Information sourced from: