Father's vaccination boosts infant pertussis protection

Protection was greatest when both parents had been vaccinated at least four weeks before their child was born, according to the investigators.

The vaccine is funded on the National Immunisation Program in a three-dose schedule for infants at two, four and six months of age, with a booster at four and at 10–15 years.

In 2009 the government funded the vaccine free of charge to mothers, fathers, grandparents and other close relatives of infants younger than 12 months following an outbreak of infant pertussis.

But the program was discontinued in 2012 after health authorities reported that the epidemic was waning and amid new evidence emerging that maternal vaccination pre-pregnancy offered greatest protection.

However, data published this week showed that vaccinating a mother before pregnancy and vaccinating a father at least four weeks before a baby was born reduced the risk of a baby being infected with pertussis by 51%.