Influenza and pertussis (whooping cough) vaccination in pregnancy

The influenza and whooping cough vaccines are provided free to pregnant women through the National Immunisation Program.

Date published:
General public

Vaccination during pregnancy is a safe and effective way to protect pregnant women and their babies against influenza and pertussis. Protective antibodies are passed through the placenta to the babies, protecting them in their first few months of life when they are most vulnerable.

Influenza is not just a cold. It is a serious disease for pregnant women and the developing and newborn baby. Changes to immune, heart and lung functions during pregnancy make pregnant women more vulnerable to severe illness from influenza. Pregnant women are more than twice as likely to be admitted to hospital as other people with influenza. 

Influenza infection in infants can be serious, can cause pneumonia and even lead to death. Babies under six months of age are more likely to be hospitalised with influenza than any other age group. The best way to protect your newborn baby against influenza is to receive the influenza vaccine during pregnancy.  The influenza vaccine can safely be given at any stage during pregnancy, preferably before the peak influenza season. 

Whooping cough can cause serious complications including brain damage, pneumonia and sometimes death. Babies under six weeks of age are too young to get vaccinated against whooping cough themselves. The most effective way to protect young babies from whooping cough is to receive the whooping cough vaccine during pregnancy. Vaccination during pregnancy reduces whooping cough disease in babies aged less than three months by over 90%. To maximise protection, vaccination is recommended as a single dose between 20 and 32 weeks in each pregnancy.

Find out more about immunisation during pregnancy: 

Help us improve

If you would like a response please use the enquiries form instead.