Tdap is a shot necessary for all adults and children starting at age 11 that protects against infections caused by Tetanus, Diptheria, and Pertussis (Whooping Cough). Because of increasing reports of Whooping Cough and increased infant deaths in the last 2 years, we are working hard to protect infants, children, adolescents and adults from Whooping Cough (caused by Pertussis). Most importantly we want to protect our newborn babies from being exposed or contracting whooping cough. Whooping cough is most dangerous and most devastating (occasionally fatal) for newborn babies (under 2 months of age) and infants under the age of 6 months. If you are around a newborn baby it’s essential you’ve had a Tdap shot at least once as an adult. Watch the video for more.
Keep in mind, even fully vaccinated adults can get pertussis. If you are caring for infants or young children, check with your health care provider about what’s best for your situation.
WHEN TO CALL THE PEDIATRICIAN: Pertussis infection starts out acting like a cold. You should consider the possibility of whooping cough if the following conditions are present:
- The child is a very young infant who has not been fully immunized and/or has had exposure to someone with a chronic cough or the disease.
- The child’s cough becomes more severe and frequent, or her lips and fingertips become dark or blue.
- She becomes exhausted after coughing episodes, eats poorly, vomits after coughing, and/or looks “sick.”
How To Protect Your Family From Whooping Cough
- The best way to prevent Pertussis (Whooping Cough) is to get vaccinated.
- Children 7 to 10 years old who did not have their full DTP/DTaP series (2,4,6, and 15 months shots) need a Tdap shot.
- Children with either an unknown or incomplete shot record/history before age 7 years of age need a Tdap shot.
- All adolescents with an up-to-date record need the Tdap shot at the 11 year old well child check-up/visit.
- Anyone over age 11 who has not previously received Tdap – when indicated.
- There’s no minimum interval between Td and Tdap vaccines. Meaning, if you for some reason had a Td (“tetanus booster”) in the last few years, you still need a Tdap now to protect against whooping cough(Pertussis). No 5-10 year interval is required between the shot.
- Vaccine protection for pertussis, tetanus and diphtheria fades with time, so adults need a booster shot. Experts recommend adults receive a Td booster every 10 years and substitute a Tdap vaccine for one of the boosters.
- Getting vaccinated with Tdap is especially important for adults who are around infants – new parents, grandparents, babysitters, nannies, and health care providers.