The DTaP vaccination protects pregnant women and their babies against diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough (pertussis). Pregnant women can get vaccinated from the 22nd week of the pregnancy up until delivery. That is why it is known as the 22-week vaccination. Although it is also called the maternal whooping cough vaccination, it is a combined vaccination against three diseases (DTaP). 

If your obstetrician or gynaecologist has informed you about the 22-week vaccination, you can make an appointment with youth healthcare services (JGZ). Find a JGZ organisation in your area

The 22-week vaccination (DTaP vaccination) in summary

Protects against Diphteria, tetanus and whooping cough (pertussis)
Given to Pregnant women from the 22nd week of pregnancy until delivery
Period of protection The baby is protected for the first 3 months after birth
Most common side effects Muscle pain, tiredness, headache, and a red, swollen or painful arm at the injection site

 

You can get the vaccination from week 22 until the end of your pregnancy, We do advise getting vaccinated as soon as possible after week 22. That ensures that your baby will be protected even in the event of preterm birth. If your child is born on the due date, they are sufficiently protected if vaccination takes place at least 2 weeks before delivery.

If your due date is in less than 2 weeks, getting vaccinated still makes sense. Even when vaccination takes place shortly before delivery, the child can absorb some of the mother’s antibodies. In addition, the mother is the most likely route of exposure to her child. The 22-week vaccination ensures that mothers are also protected against whooping cough, so you can no longer infect your child.

Make an appointment for your 22-week vaccination.

Your maternal whooping cough vaccination is the DTaP vaccine. This vaccination protects against whooping cough, diphtheria and tetanus.

Combined vaccine

There is no separate vaccination to protect against whooping cough on its own. No company makes it. That is why it is a combined vaccine. People all over the world have had lots of experience vaccinating pregnant women against whooping cough, tetanus and diphtheria, which is how we know that the vaccine is safe.

Booster vaccination

Most adults have already been vaccinated against whooping cough or have been infected at some point, often without even noticing. That is why a repeat vaccination during pregnancy is enough. We call this a ‘booster vaccination’. A booster contains fewer active substances than a vaccine intended for children who were not previously vaccinated. To protect your baby effectively, it is important to get this vaccination during pregnancy. 

The maternal whooping cough vaccination (22-week vaccination) ensures that the pregnant woman’s body makes antibodies against whooping cough, diphtheria and tetanus bacteria. During pregnancy, the antibodies are passed on to the baby. If the baby comes into contact with any of these bacteria, its immune system is able to clear the bacteria and keep the baby healthy. 

The unborn child gets its antibodies from the mother. If the mother gets her maternal whooping cough vaccination (DPT vaccination), the baby requires one less DTaP-IPV - HBV - HBV vaccination. As a result, the first DTaP-IPV - Hib - HBV vaccination will be given at 3 months instead of at 2 months. 

If I do not get the maternal whooping cough vaccination, what happens then? 

If you did not get the vaccination, your child will get an additional vaccination (DTaP-IPV - Hib - HBV) at 2 months. Your child may also get this additional vaccination in other situations, for example if your child is born early. The paediatrician will discuss this with you.

The vaccination is safe for both you and your baby. This topic has been researched extensively. Women in other countries have already been getting this vaccination for much longer. That includes people in the UK, Belgium, Spain, and the USA. All studies show there is no increased risk of problems during pregnancy or for the newborn child. More information about the safety of the maternal whooping cough vaccination is available on the page on research about the maternal whooping cough vaccination.

Side effects of the whooping cough vaccination

When Most side effects occur within a day after vaccination and are gone within a couple of days.
Happens often

Muscle pain, headache, tiredness, and symptoms at the injection site, such as a red, swollen or painful arm.

Happens sometimes

A person may occasionally get a fever after vaccination. 

Good to know

After your whooping cough vaccination, you cannot infect others.

As with all vaccinations, there may be side effects. Examples include feeling listless, headache, and symptoms at the injection site, such as a red, swollen or painful arm. These side effects are generally mild and will go away on their own. Serious side effects, such as a severe allergic reaction, are very rare.

The Pharmacovigilance Centre Lareb provides more information on side effects. A detailed description of possible side effects can be found in the information leaflet for the vaccine

Nervous about side effects

Getting vaccinated during pregnancy may make you feel uneasy. There may be side effects. It is good to know that the vaccinations given through the National Immunisation Programme are given in many other countries as well. Studies from all those countries show that these vaccinations are safe. There are no known long-term negative effects.

The DTaP vaccine contains small parts of the bacteria that cause whooping cough. These parts have been made harmless and cannot make you ill. The bacteria that cause diphtheria and tetanus produce a toxic substance that makes you ill. This is called a toxin. 

There is no separate vaccination to protect against whooping cough on its own. No company makes it. That is why it is always a combined vaccine.

The page ‘What is in vaccines?’ provides more information on everything that is in vaccines.

The vaccination is safe for pregnant women with reduced immunity. If you are ill, please contact the organisation where you made an appointment to get vaccinated. They can tell you if it is a good idea to get the vaccination right now. Sometimes the vaccination may be postponed for a bit.  

Can pregnant women with impaired immunity get the maternal whooping cough vaccination?

The 22-week vaccination is safe for pregnant women with impaired immunity, but it may be less effective. People with these health conditions always have their case supervised by a treating physician, who can provide more information. In these cases, it is recommended for your baby get the first DTaP-IPV - Hib - HBV vaccination at 2 months. 

That is not usually necessary, unless your destination has a high risk of infectious diseases. Youth healthcare services (JGZ) can give you more information on this. 

If you received a DT-IPV vaccination earlier during your pregnancy, for example because you were planning to travel outside the Netherlands, remember to also get your 22-week vaccination. The DT-IPV vaccination protects against diphtheria, tetanus and polio, but not against whooping cough. The 22-week vaccination does protect against whooping cough.

If you have questions about vaccinations that you need for travelling abroad, consult the National Coordination Centre for Travellers Advice (LCR) website (in Dutch). The LCR website includes information on where to make an appointment in your area.