Common side effects of the pertussis vaccine include fever, headache, tiredness, body aches, and redness, swelling or pain at the site of injection, states the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Rare, more serious side effects include seizures, severe reactions at the injection site, high fever and allergic reaction.
Signs of a serious allergic reaction, which may include difficulty breathing, hives, itching, and swelling of the face or throat, usually occur a few minutes to a few hours following vaccination, as stated by the CDC. There are two types of pertussis vaccines: DTaP, which doctors administer to children under the age of 7, and Tdap, which doctors give to children and adults between the ages of 11 and 64. Both vaccines protect against pertussis, tetanus and diphtheria.
Pertussis, also called whooping cough, is an upper respiratory infection caused by bacteria, as noted by MedlinePlus. The disease spreads when an infected individual coughs, sending tiny bacteria-filled particles into the air. Symptoms of pertussis typically include severe cough, runny nose, mild fever and diarrhea. Infected infants commonly experience choking and long pauses in their breathing. The illness lasts six to 10 weeks, and it may cause permanent disability or death in infants.