New national guidelines have advised pregnant women to receive a whooping cough vaccination at 20 rather than 28 weeks.

Health authorities say the highly contagious disease, which kills around 250,000 children worldwide every year, is best prevented through vaccination, reports 7 news.

Whooping cough symptoms include a blocked or runny nose, sneezing, raised temperature, uncontrolled bouts of coughing that sounds like a ‘whoop’, or are followed by a ‘whooping’ noise and vomiting.

The National Department of Health revealed the new guidelines on Tuesday.

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SA Health’s Acting Chief Medical Officer, Dr Nicola Spurrier, says vaccination during pregnancy can reduce the risk of whooping cough in babies by 90 per cent.

“Babies less than six months of age are too young to be fully immunised against whooping cough and are at higher risk of severe disease, so it is important for mum to receive the vaccine which gives babies some protection,” Spurrier said.

The earlier vaccination helps maximise protection for babies should they be born pre-term.

“The vaccine is free for pregnant women so I urge all expectant mothers to speak to their midwife or obstetrician about getting immunised.”

Women’s and Children’s Hospital nurse consultant Breda MacDonald says vaccination is the best form of protection and pregnant women should be vigilant about receiving the shot.

“The whooping cough vaccine should be given in each pregnancy, even pregnancies close together, to give the best protection for each baby,” MacDonald said.

Share your comments below

  • I had to call an 000 at 2 am in the morning because my daughter had whooping cough. Scary and horrifying but it she ended up being fine.


  • Great move its horrifying for a newborn to get whopping cough


  • Thanks for this article of vaccines.


  • interesting read, scary how many cases there are at the moment


  • A great recommendation


  • So what’s the go if you have the vaccine while you’re pregnant then say two years later you’re pregnant again. Do you have the vaccine again or a booster or are you covered within a time range?

    • I would think that once you have had the vaccination you may not need another one. Many people previously were not vaccinated. Incidentally the croup cough sounds very similar. I know of 2 toddlers who have had croup with difficulty breathing.


  • It’s good that they revise the guidelines as needed.


  • Ths is important. It’s such a Ghastly disease for babies.

    • It is absolutely hideous and heartbreaking.


  • I’m not sure I got it with any of my 3 pregnancies?


  • Thanks for the update.


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