Pregnant women are at risk of serious illness during pregnancy. In addition, young infants are not well protected in the first few months of life from illnesses such as influenza (flu) and pertussis (whooping cough).

A common question we are asked at MVEC is: “Is it safe to receive influenza and whooping cough vaccines during pregnancy?”

The answer is YES, the influenza vaccine is safe to administer during any stage of pregnancy.

The best time to receive the whooping cough vaccine is in the 3rd trimester. Ideally the vaccine should be administered between 28-32 weeks gestation, but can be administered at anytime up to 38 weeks gestation.

From 1st June 2015, the whooping cough vaccine can be accessed free in Victoria as part of the pertussis funded vaccine program (see resources). Maternal vaccination has been an effective way to manage pertussis (whooping cough) in the United Kingdom. It is recommended that a pertussis containing vaccine be administered with every pregnancy to optimise protection.

For more information, see the resources below.


ABC News report:

‘Ántivaxxer’ tells of ‘nightmare’ after passing whooping cough onto baby daughter

Evidence of maternal pertussis vaccine effectiveness in the United Kingdom

Health Affairs (35) 2016, pages 309-316

Strategies to boost maternal immunization to achieve further gains in improved maternal and newborn health

Monash Health immunisation resources

Influenza vaccine in pregnancy

2014 Patient information sheet Antenatal Influenza

Pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine in pregnancy

2015 Patient information sheet Antenatal Boostrix

Rubella vaccine in planning pregnancy

2015 Patient information sheet Rubella Vaccine

Reviewed by: Michelle Giles (Infectious Diseases Consultant, Monash Health) and Nigel Crawford (Paediatrician, The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne)
Date: May 2016
Materials in this section are updated as new information and vaccines become available. The Melbourne Vaccine Education Centre (MVEC) 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. For medical concerns, including decisions about vaccinations, medications and other treatments, you should always consult a healthcare professional.


Melbourne University

Welcome to MVEC

The Melbourne Vaccine Education Centre (MVEC) is a new web-based initiative, providing up-to-date immunisation information for healthcare professionals, parents and the public.

It is a collaboration between The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) and its Melbourne Children’s campus partners (Murdoch Children's Research Institute and The University of Melbourne) and Monash Health.

MVEC aims to address common queries around vaccines and to promote the benefits of immunisation for both children and adults.