Ask the VEC: Tdap Vaccine and Protecting Infants

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Parents PACK

Q. Are family members and other caregivers of an infant supposed to get the Tdap vaccine for whooping cough once in a lifetime or should they also get the vaccine again before a new baby is born?

A. Adults are recommended to get only a single dose of the Tdap vaccine, with one exception: Pregnant women are recommended to get one dose of the Tdap vaccine during each pregnancy. This is because maternal antibodies will protect the baby in the months before the baby is protected by an active vaccine. Because the goal of vaccination is to leverage maternal antibodies, the recommendation is specific for 27-36 weeks of gestation. This timing takes into account the time needed to generate maternal antibodies and transfer them to the baby, therefore, maximizing the baby’s opportunity for protection.

Materials in this section are updated as new information and vaccines become available. The Vaccine Education Center staff regularly reviews materials for accuracy.

You should not consider the information in this site to be specific, professional medical advice for your personal health or for your family's personal health. You should not use it to replace any relationship with a physician or other qualified healthcare professional. For medical concerns, including decisions about vaccinations, medications and other treatments, you should always consult your physician or, in serious cases, seek immediate assistance from emergency personnel.