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eLearning: Pertussis

Pertussis vaccination is recommended for pregnant women from 20 weeks. Some people have questions about the severity of the disease, and the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine. This module will help you respond to those concerns respectfully and effectively.


The development of this content was led by the Murdoch Children's Research Institute for the MumBubVax website (now archived). Please note these video modules include logos and visuals that relate to the original website. Updated video modules will be developed in the future. 

Last updated on 13 June 2023.


Resource type: eLearning
Resource Format: Video module and quiz
SKAI Topic: Pregnancy & Newborn
eLearning module

This eLearning module was originally designed primarily for use in general practice but the information and tips featured are applicable to various healthcare settings.


Once you’ve watched the module, access a printable quiz to test your knowledge about addressing the common barriers to pertussis vaccination.


Pertussis vaccines are recommended for pregnant women any time from 20 weeks. It is most effective when given between 20 and 32 weeks.


Disease severity

  • Pertussis is still relatively common in Australia, and 1 in 200 young babies who get pertussis will die.


Vaccine safety

  • Modern pertussis-containing vaccines are safe for mothers and their babies. Many large research studies have found that babies whose mothers were vaccinated during pregnancy were no more likely to be born prematurely, have defects, or have a low birth weight.
  • Most people who have the pertussis vaccine have no reaction at all. Some people have mild reactions that last between 12 and 24 hours and are easily treated at home.

Vaccine effectiveness

  • Getting vaccinated against pertussis in pregnancy can protect babies from serious pertussis until they can be vaccinated. Nine out of ten babies under three months of age are protected against pertussis if their mothers had the pertussis vaccine during pregnancy.