Pertussis - vaccine
The pertussis vaccine protects against whooping cough (pertussis). Pertussis is a severe and potentially deadly childhood bacterial infection that affects the airways.
Alternative NamesVaccine - pertussis; Immunization - pertussis
The pertussis vaccine is included in the DTaP vaccine. The DTaP vaccine is a "3-in-1" vaccine that protects against diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus. It can be given to children under 7 years old. It is given by injection, usually into the arm or the thigh. The DTaP is less likely to cause reactions than the older DTP vaccine.
Pertussis vaccination is one of the recommended childhood immunizations and should begin during infancy. Pertussis immunization is generally required before starting school. A five-dose series is recommended.
DTaP immunization is series of injections given to children at ages 2 months, 4 months, 6 months and 15-18 months. A booster is given before starting school (age 4-6 years). A different vaccine, the DT vaccine, may be given if there is a medical reason why the child should not receive the pertussis vaccine -- such as allergic reaction.
In spring 2005, the FDA approved 2 new booster vaccines (Boostrix and Adacel) against pertussis in combination with tetanus and diphtheria for adolescents and adults. This article focuses primarily on infant DtaP vaccination.
Pertussis vaccine is highly effective for the prevention of pertussis. Immunized persons who develop pertussis usually have a milder case than nonimmunized people.
DTaP vaccine can be safely given to infants.
DTaP may cause mild side effects (slight fever, crankiness, tenderness of the injection site for a few days, decreased appetite, vomiting).
DTaP causes moderate complications in less than 1% of injections. These complications include:
- High fever greater than 105 degrees F (1 in 16,000 children)
- Non-stop crying for more than 3 hours (1 in 1,000 children)
- Seizure (1 in 14,000 children)
DTaP may cause severe complications in very rare instances:
- Severe allergic reaction (less than 1 per million children)
- Prolonged seizure/brain damage (so rare that the association with the vaccine is questionable)
DELAY OR DO NOT GIVE
If the child is sick with something more serious than a mild cold, DTaP may be delayed until the child is better.
If the child has had any of the following after an earlier DTaP, talk to your child's health care provider before another injection is given:
- Seizures within 3 to 7 days after injection
- Any serious brain problem within 7 days after injection
- Worsening of seizures or other brain problem (at any time)
- Mouth, throat, or face swelling (serious allergy) within a few hours after injection
- Difficulty breathing (serious allergy) within a few hours after injection
- Fever of 105 degrees F or higher within 2 days after injection
- Shock or collapse within 2 days after injection
- Persistent, uncontrolled crying that lasts for more than 3 hours at a time within 2 days after injection
If you are not sure whether a pertussis-containing immunization should be given, contact your health care provider. (Often, a child that has problems with the DTaP vaccine can safely receive the DT vaccine, which does not contain pertussis vaccine.)
POSTIMMUNIZATION SYMPTOMS AND CARE
Acetaminophen may be recommended to reduce fever and soreness. Some health care providers recommend that a dose be given just prior to the injection to help prevent common, minor side effects.
A warm, damp cloth or a heating pad may reduce soreness.
After receiving the injection, move the arm or leg (whichever receive the shot) frequently. This helps reduce soreness.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF:
- You aren't sure whether your child should receive a pertussis-containing immunization.
- Your child develops complications or severe symptoms after getting a DTaP immunization.
- There are other questions or concerns about pertussis immunization.
Reviewed By: Rachel A. Lewis, MD, FAAP, Columbia University Pediatric Faculty Practice, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Copyright 2013 A.D.A.M., Inc.