Denmark reinstates free whooping cough vaccine during pregnancy

Ritzau/The Local
Ritzau/The Local - [email protected]
Denmark reinstates free whooping cough vaccine during pregnancy
Denmark has reinstated free whooping cough vaccination during pregnancy. Photo by Ömürden Cengiz on Unsplash

A free vaccine against whooping cough will again be offered during pregnancy, the Danish Health Authority confirmed on Monday.


Pregnant women will again be able to access free vaccination against whooping cough, the Health Authority said in a statement.

The offer will be in place until the end of the year. Parliament could yet make the arrangement permanent, however.

While the government has already stated it wants a permanent free whooping cough vaccination programme during pregnancy, it is still working on finding financing for this. The Health Ministry said in July that this will be covered by the draft 2024 budget.

Vaccination against whooping cough during pregnancy was initially offered in 2019 during an epidemic of the infection and was extended several times, most recently in January, but expired at the end of March.

However, case numbers are now increasing, causing the health authority to reintroduce the free vaccine, initially on a temporary basis.


The Danish Health Authority recommends all pregnant women are vaccinated against whooping cough during the second or third trimester of pregnancy.

The vaccination, which has been offered as a single-dose injection at GP clinics, is intended to protect newborn infants during their early months, until they can receive the vaccination themselves.

“(The first three months after birth) are a time when the child is not old enough to be vaccinated itself against whooping cough and where infection with whooping cough can be serious and potentially life threatening,” consultant physician Kirstine Moll Harboe said in the statement.

Denmark’s child vaccination programme includes jabs against the disease, but it is not given until the child is a few months old, with doses at 3, 5 and 12 months.

Whooping cough (kighoste in Danish) is caused by a bacteria, Bordetella pertussis. The time between infection and the onset of symptoms is around 5 to 15 days.

Both children and adults can be infected with the disease, but it is most dangerous for infants, according to the Danish infectious disease control agency State Serum Institute (SSI).

Symptoms initially resemble a cold and light cough lasting around two weeks, before more severe and dry coughing fits begin. The dry coughing can last for as long as 10 weeks.

Small children can suffer up to 30-40 coughing fits per day as a result of the disease.

The infection can be dangerous for small children due to their narrower airways, in which hardened mucus can collect and cause breathing difficulties.

Long coughing fits can also result in the child not taking in sufficient oxygen.

Six infants have died of whooping cough in Denmark since 1995, news wire Ritzau writes.



Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also