Pertussis

FAQ

Is the pertussis vaccine safe?

The pertussis vaccine is safe. Serious side effects are very rare. The vaccine used in Canada prevents the disease approximately 85% of the time. If a vaccinated child does get whooping cough infection, the disease will often be far less severe due to protection from the vaccine.

The vaccine to protect against whooping cough is provided free to all young children in Canada as part of the publicly funded routine immunization schedule. It is usually given by a needle or shot in combination with other childhood vaccines. To be fully immunized, a child needs five doses of whooping cough vaccine, starting at two months of age

Call your doctor or local health unit right away if you or your child has trouble breathing, a high fever, or anything unusual after having the shot.

What are the side effects of the pertussis vaccine?

Mild reactions one to three days after the DTaP shots are common, especially after the 4th and 5th doses. Common reactions include:

  • fever
  • redness or swelling where the shot was given
  • soreness or tenderness where the shot was given
  • tiredness/fussiness
  • loss of appetite

Why do I need a pertussis booster?

The protection against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis wears off over time, which is why booster shots are recommended. Talk to your doctor about the pertussis booster.
Where can I get more information on the pertussis vaccine?

Talk to your doctor about the pertussis vaccine. Be sure to ask for a written record of your child’s vaccines. 

 

References: 

Public Health Agency of Canada. (2014). Pertussis (whooping cough).

Retrieved July 21, 2014, from, http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/im/vpd-mev/pertussis-eng.php

Health Canada. It’s You Health. Whooping cough (pertussis). http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/iyh-vsv/diseases-maladies/cough-toux-eng.php

Public Health Agency of Canada. (2014). Canadian Immunization Guide. Retrieved July 21, 2014, from, http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/publicat/cig-gci/p04-dip-eng.php

Public Health Agency of Canada. (2014). Canadian Immunization Guide. Retrieved July 21, 2014, from, http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/publicat/cig-gci/p04-pert-coqu-eng.php

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Page Last Updated: 23/10/2014