Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious respiratory illness caused by a type of bacteria called Bordetella pertussis. Early symptoms of pertussis are a runny nose, no fever, and mild cough. If left untreated, the cough becomes stronger and more frequent and may persist for up to ten weeks.
The CDC and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist (ACOG) recommend that pregnant women receive a Tdap in their third trimester with every pregnancy. Maternal antibodies produced from the vaccine are transferred to the baby, giving your baby early, short-term protection. This is critical because babies will not get their first whooping cough vaccine until 2 months of age.
Over time, the amount of pertussis antibodies in your body decreases, so your antibody levels will not stay high enough to provide protection in future pregnancies. This is why it is important to get a whooping cough vaccine during each pregnancy.
The CDC also recommends that people who will be close to a baby (grandparents, siblings, caregivers, etc.) have an up-to-date Tdap vaccine. This practice is called “cocooning” and is important because 80% of babies who get pertussis caught it from someone in their home.
Where can I get vaccinated?
You can get a Tdap vaccine at your doctor’s office, pharmacy, or make an appointment with us at the Gallatin City-County Health Department. We welcome Gallatin County residents of all income levels, with or without insurance, and our sliding fee scale is designed to promote access to all for a healthier, happier community.
To schedule an appointment, call us at 406-582-3100.