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Immunisation in every pregnancy protects you and your baby from whooping cough (pertussis) and flu (influenza). Vaccines in pregnancy are baby’s first vaccines – they are FREE in EVERY pregnancy.


Having immunisations in pregnancy for whooping cough and influenza will protect you and your baby for their first few months of life. 

You should have these FREE vaccines each time you are pregnant.

Whooping cough (pertussis) is a serious illness that causes very severe coughing and breathing difficulties. It is especially serious in babies under 1 year of age with about 7 in 10 babies being admitted to hospital to get help with their feeding and breathing. It can be life threatening - in the last large NZ outbreak, 3 babies sadly died of whooping cough.

The whooping cough immunisation can be given during the second or third trimester of pregnancy. It is best to get it early in pregnancy (after the 16th week of pregnancy) for the immunity to pass through the placenta to your baby and provide protection for your baby until they start having their own immunisations at six weeks old. Immunisation in pregnancy reduces the risk of whooping cough in young babies by 91%.

Getting influenza (the flu) during pregnancy can harm you and your baby. Pregnant women are most at risk of serious complications from the flu, such as pneumonia (a serious lung infection) and are more likely to die from the flu than women who are not pregnant. Getting the flu in pregnancy can cause baby to be born too early or too small. Women immunised for the flu in pregnancy are less likely to experience a stillbirth.

Immunisation can help stop you catching the flu. You can also pass immunity on to your baby which helps keep your baby from getting the flu too.

Getting your immunisations

Immunisation is FREE for all pregnant women in EVERY pregnancy.

Whooping cough vaccine is FREE in the second and third trimester of pregnancy from your local doctor (GP).

The flu vaccine is available from April to December every year. Immunisation in pregnancy is FREE from your doctor (GP) or local pharmacy at any stage of pregnancy.

These vaccines are safe in pregnancy. Talk to your doctor or LMC (Lead Maternity Carer - your midwife or obstetrician) about getting your pregnancy immunisations. Click here for more information about immunisations in pregnancy.

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This page was last updated at 12:27PM on June 24, 2021.