Boostrix - Whooping Cough Vaccine

Whooping cough (also known as pertussis) is an infectious disease that causes coughing and difficulty breathing. It can be very serious in young babies. They can catch whooping cough from family/whānau so make sure you, your older children and extended family are up-to-date with vaccinations. For some people they may be eligible to receive a funded vaccine. Gilmours Pharmacy is able to vaccinate you against whooping cough.

The whooping cough vaccination is FREE for some people from some pharmacies. Vaccination is free for:

  • People under 18
  • If you are pregnant (from 13 weeks)
  • 65 year olds
  • and for some 45 year olds

If you do not meet the above criteria then your Pharmacist is still able to vaccinate you against whooping cough if you are 13 years and older. 

Whooping cough is spread through the air by infectious droplets, so it’s easily transmitted by other people coughing or sneezing or by being close to a person with the disease.

It’s more infectious than other common diseases including the flu. One infected person can pass whooping cough on to up to 17 unprotected others.

Symptoms in adults include runny nose, sneezing, slight fever, repeated coughing fits, and difficulty breathing.

New Zealand is currently experiencing an ongoing national outbreak. Whooping Cough is a vaccine preventable disease. In New Zealand infants are fully immunised against whooping cough at around 5-months of age. Children also receive boosters at 4 and 11-years as part of the National Immunisation Schedule. Infants aren't fully immunised until around 5-months of age so make sure if you're visiting children under 5-months be sure that you are vaccinated against whooping cough because their protection starts with you.

In healthy adults whooping cough is often difficult to diagnose - you may think you just have persistent cough (often referred to as a 100-day cough). Not being protected yourself means you could easily pass on this highly contagious disease without knowing you had it in the first place.  It can however become more than just annoying, causing complications such as:

  • Urinary incontinence
  • Pneumonia
  • Rib fractures.

Who’s at risk?
Older patients have weakened immune systems. This is known as, age-related decline in immunity and is one of the reasons why infectious diseases like whooping cough are more severe in older adults.

Other reasons why infectious diseases like whooping cough are more severe in older adults include:

  • Underlying medical conditions
  • Weakened immune system
  • Multiple medication use
  • Diminished response to therapy
  • Living in close proximity to others (including care facilities)

The burden of whooping cough and the risk of complications increases with age in adults. In fact, if you’re 65 or over you are 4 – 6 times at greater risk of being hospitalised.

Babies under 2-months of age are also at a high-risk of serious complications. Newborn babies have no natural protection against whooping cough at birth or in the first few months of life, leaving them unprotected and highly vulnerable.

Staying protected

Because your immunity wanes over time, adults need regular vaccinations to remain protected. So, even if you’ve been vaccinated before you may be due for a booster. We need a booster every 10 years to stay fully immunised, but most adults are not aware of this. 

When did you last have your whooping cough booster vaccination? To book your Boostrix - Whooping Cough Vaccination please book online through Book My Vaccine or call us on 877-8222.