The vaccination to prevent whooping cough in adults is known as Tdap. This vaccination protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, which is the medical name for whooping cough.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends one dose of Tdap for adults 19 years and older who were not fully vaccinated against pertussis as children. The Tdap vaccination can be administered without regard to when the individual last received the Td immunization, which is the common tetanus booster shot given every 10 years. The CDC also recommends that pregnant women receive the Tdap vaccine between the 27th and 36th weeks of pregnancy.
Pertussis can be especially serious in infants, leading to complications, hospitalizations and in rare cases, death. Therefore, prevention of this respiratory tract infection in infants is crucial. When expecting mothers receive the Tdap vaccine, they develop antibodies that are passed onto the baby to provide some protection before the child is able to begin receiving pertussis immunizations at the age of 2 months. However, it is also critical for everyone who enters into contact with an infant to be adequately vaccinated against pertussis in order to prevent the spread of this highly contagious infection to the vulnerable baby, especially considering many who have the infection are unaware of their infection.