Whooping Cough

Are you at risk of whooping cough?

Book now health check

No prescription needed. On-the-spot whooping cough vaccinations
available in-store now.

Service fees and eligibility criteria apply. Selected stores only. Visit terrywhitechemmart.com.au for details.

Are you at risk of whooping cough?

Whooping cough, or pertussis, is an airborne respiratory infection that can bring with it symptoms similar to the common cold. It can affect people of all ages, although it is particularly serious in young children and babies, often life-threatening in babies less than 6 months of age. It is highly contagious and is spread by coughing and sneezing. The disease is named ‘Whooping Cough’ because the cold-like symptoms are followed by a long period of coughing fits, usually several weeks, in which a person may make a high-pitched ‘whoop’ when inhaling after coughing.

How the symptoms can affect us

Whooping Cough initially presents similarly to the common cold, with a runny nose, watery eyes and a low-grade fever, however over the next three to seven days sufferers develop a dry cough which is typically accompanied by a sharp inhalation, from where the name ‘Whooping Cough’ is derived.

The violent coughing has also been known to cause vomiting, general tiredness and can even break ribs from the effort.

The cough usually passes after a few weeks but may linger as long as three months. For this reason, Whooping Cough is also known in some places as having a hundred-day cough.

Your TerryWhite Chemmart pharmacist can provide a whooping cough vaccination, without a prescription»

TerryWhite Chemmart pharmacists are able to perform whooping cough vaccinations for customers aged over 16 years in ACT, NSW, NT, QLD, SA, TAS, and WA and 15 years in VIC. For vaccinations for younger customers and children, please see your GP. Please arrive 5 minutes prior to your appointment and be aware you will need to remain in store for a further 15-minute observation period. Some customers may be eligible for the free flu vaccination – please speak to your pharmacist, GP or other immunisation provider to see if you are eligible.

If you DO contract Whooping Cough, treatment is a course of antibiotics which reduces the time a person is infectious to others and may reduce symptoms if given early in the disease. Your pharmacists will advise you to see your doctor if you are suspected to have contracted whooping cough.

»Service fees apply. Important: Some people may not be eligible for a whooping cough vaccination. Please speak with one of our pharmacists to confirm if you are eligible. *Reference: Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI). Australian Immunisation Handbook, Australian Government Department of Health, Canberra, 2018, immunisationhandbook.health.gov.au.

For those under 18

Babies are among the most at-risk demographic of both being infected and experiencing adverse effects related to the disease. The best way to reduce the risk of developing whooping cough is through immunisation, however babies cannot be vaccinated until they are six weeks of age and are not fully protected until they are six months old.

The Whooping Cough vaccine is a part of the National Immunisation Program Schedule. It is funded for:

  • Infants aged 2 months (vaccines due at 2 months can be given from 6 weeks), 4 months and 6 months)
  • Children at 18 months of age
  • Children aged 4 years (vaccines due at 4 years can be given from 3 years 6 months)
  • Year 7 student booster dose, usually given in the school immunisation program.

A booster dose is also recommended for adults wanting to reduce the risk of infection who haven’t had a booster in the last decade. It is especially important that people who will be in contact with or caring for babies under six months of age be vaccinated.

For advice or further details on vaccinating children, consult your pharmacist or general practitioner.

Adult Vaccination

The recommendation for pertussis vaccination during pregnancy has been updated. The optimal timing for vaccination is 20 to 32 weeks gestation (mid 2nd trimester to early 3rd trimester). As per Australian Immunisation Handbook. Boosting an expectant mother’s immunity also protects the newborn until vaccination at six weeks is possible. This is also covered under the National Immunisation Program from 1st July 2018.

A booster dose is recommended for adults wanting to reduce the risk of infection who haven’t had a booster in the last decade. This is particularly important for certain groups that may be more at risk of complications or are in contact with those at increased risk:

  • Older adults particularly those aged 65 and over
  • People with respiratory conditions such as COPD or asthma
  • Carers such as grandparents

Note: National Immusation Program (NIP) is not available in NSW pharmacies. Please speak to your local TerryWhite Chemmart pharmacist for more information.

General advice only – this information should not replace the information provided to you by your health care professional. If symptoms are severe or persist, please speak to your health care professional. Information current as of date of publishing.

Always check with your pharmacist or medical professional before starting any new medications or supplements, particularly if you have any pre-existing medical conditions, are taking any medications currently, are pregnant or breastfeeding, or researching therapies suitable for infants or children.