Frequently Asked Questions for Patients Concerning Tdap Vaccination

What is pertussis?

Pertussis (also called whooping cough) is a highly contagious disease that causes severe coughing. People with pertussis may make a "whooping"sound when they try to breathe. In newborns, pertussis can be a life-threatening illness. It can be prevented with a vaccine called the tetanus toxid, reduced diphtheria toxoid and acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccine.

I am pregnant. Should I get a Tdap shot?

Yes, if you have never received a Tdap vaccine before, you should receive it late in your second trimester(ie, after 20 weeks of gestation) or third trimester of pregnancy. The Tdap vaccine is an effective and safe way to protect you and your baby from serious illness and complications of pertussis.

I am planning on becoming pregnant. It is recommended that I receive a Tdap shot?

Yes. All adults should receive a single dose of Tdap. If you have not received a Tdap vaccination before, you can receive a Tdap vaccine now.

During which trimester is it safe to have a Tdap shot?

Experts recommend that the Tdap vaccine be administered to pregnant women late in the second trimester, or third trimester of pregnancy.

Can newborns be vaccinated against pertussis?

No. Infants are at risk of getting pertussis until they can be vaccinated at 2 months of age.

What else can I do to protect my baby against pertussis?

Getting your Tdap shot is the most important step in protecting yourself and your baby against whooping cough. It is also important to make sure all family members and caregivers are up to date with their vaccines and, if necessary, that they receive the Tdap vaccination at least 2 weeks before having contact with your baby. This creates a safety "cocoon" of vaccinated caregivers around your baby.

I am breastfeeding my baby. Is it safe to get vaccinated with Tdap?

Yes. Tdap shot can safely be given to breastfeeding mothers if they did not get the vaccine while they were pregnant.

I did not receive my Tdap shot during pregnancy. Do I still need to be vaccinated?

Yes, if you needed the vaccine and you were not vaccinated with Tdap during pregnancy, you should receive your Tdap shot immediately after your baby is born. 

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