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Common name:


Protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough).



Boostrix® is adminstered as part of the National Immunisation Schedule at 11 years of age. The vaccine is delivered in the school-based vaccination programme to children in Year 7 in most parts of the country. In other areas it is provided in general practice.

Boostrix is recommended and funded in pregnancy to help protect both mother and her newborn infant against pertussis (whooping cough). From 1 July 2019, this booster dose is funded from the second trimester of every pregnancy and recommended to be administered from 16 weeks, preferably within the second trimester. By immunising the mother in pregnancy, the baby is protected from whooping cough in two ways:

1.    By the antibodies produced by mother following immunisation and passed to baby across the placenta
2.    The mother is protected from catching whooping cough and passing it to her baby

It is important to emphasise that this protection is temporary and the infant should receive their own immunisations on time, starting at 6 weeks, so they develop their own, longer-term immunity.

Later in 2020, Boostrix will replace the tetanus and diphtheria only vaccine (ADT™ Booster) for individuals who need a tetanus booster immunisation because of a wound and adults needing catch-up immunisation and booster immunisation at 45 years and 65 years of age.

Boostrix vaccine boosters immunity against diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough. Fully immunised children will have received previous doses of the three vaccines contained in Boostrix:

  • Infanrix-hexa delivered at 6 weeks, 3 months and 5 months of age provides the 'primary' course
  • Infanrix-IPV delivered at 4 years provides a booster adding protection before the child goes to school

Children who are not fully immunised may receive Boostrix as part of a catch-up programme. Catch-up programmes of all funded vaccines are free up to a young person's 18th birthday.

Responses to vaccine

Boostrix (Tdap)

Common Responses

  • Pain and swelling around the injection site may prevent normal everyday activities for 24–48 hours
  • Headache or nausea
  • Muscle or joint stiffness or pain

Rare Responses

  • Hives
  • Sterile abscess at the injection site

As with any medicine, very rarely a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) can occur following immunisation.


  • Acosta AM, DeBolt C, Tasslimi A, et al. Tdap vaccine effectiveness in adolescents during the 2012 Washington State pertussis epidemic. Pediatrics (2015) 135(6)  DOI: 10.1542/peds.2014-3358.
  • Campbell H, Gupta S, Dolan GP, Kapadia SJ, Kumar Singh A, Andrews N, et al. Review of vaccination in pregnancy to prevent pertussis in early infancy. J Med Microbiol. 2018;67(10):1426-56.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. General Recommendations on Immunization Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). MMWR Recomm Rep. 2011;60(2):1-61.
  • Dabrera G, Amirthalingam G, Andrews N, Campbell H, Ribeiro S, Kara E, Fry NK, Ramsay M. A case-control study to estimate the effectiveness of maternal pertussis vaccination in protecting newborn infants in England and Wales, 2012-2013.Clin Infect Dis. 2015 Feb 1;60(3):333-7. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciu821. Epub 2014 Oct 19.
  • Eberhardt CS, Blanchard-Rohner G, Lemaître B, Combescure C, Othenin-Girard V, Chilin A, et al. Pertussis antibody transfer to preterm neonates after second- versus third-trimester maternal immunization. Clin Infect Dis. 2017;64(8):1129-32.
  • Healy C, Rench MA, Swaim LS, et al. Association between third-trimester tdap immunization and neonatal pertussis antibody concentration. JAMA. 2018;320(14):1464-70.
  • Ministry of Health. Immunisation Handbook 2017 2nd Edition. Wellington: Ministry of Health; 2017 [updated March 2018 ]. Available from: http://www.health.govt.nz/publication/immunisation-handbook-2017.
  • Petousis-Harris, Walls T, Watson D et al. Safety of Tdap vaccine in pregnant women: an observational study. BMJ Open 2016;6:e010911 doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2015-010911.
  • Walls T, Graham P, Petousis-Harris H, Hill L, Austin N. Infant outcomes after exposure to Tdap vaccine in pregnancy: an observational study. BMJ Open 2016;6:e009536 doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2015-009536.
  • Winter K, Nickell S, Powell M and Harriman K. Effectiveness of prenatal versus postpartum Tdap vaccination in preventing infant pertussis. Clin Infect Dis (2016) Sep 13 doi: 10.1093/cid/ciw634.
  • Winter K, Cherry JD and Harriman K. Effectiveness of prenatal Tdap vaccination on pertussis severity in infants. Clin Infect Dis. 2016 Sep 13.doi: 10.1093/cid/ciw633.
In Depth

Other brands: Adacel®

Other diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis-containing vaccines: DTaP-IPV- Hib/HepB (Infanrix®-hexa) and DTaP-IPV (Infanrix®-IPV)

Vaccine type: subunit

Schedule and administration

Boostrix® is funded, and often provide as part of school-based immunisation programmes, at 11 years of age (Year 7).

Later in 2020, Boostrix will replace the tetanus and diphtheria only vaccine (ADT™ Booster) for individuals who need a tetanus booster immunisation because of a wound and adults needing catch-up immunisation and booster immunisation at 45 years and 65 years of age.

From 1 July 2019, Boostrix is funded from the second trimester of every pregnancy and recommended to be administered from 16 weeks.

Administration of Tdap from 16 weeks of pregnancy allows time for the woman’s immune system to produce antibody protection against pertussis. It also ensures there is enough time before birth for the antibodies to pass through the placenta into the growing baby. The level of maternal antibody in the newborn varies between mothers and babies. The antibodies are temporary but are expected to protect the newborn against severe pertussis disease for at least two months. This is the time the infant is most vulnerable before they can start their own immunisation programme. A secondary outcome of maternal Tdap vaccination may be a reduction in the risk that the woman will catch pertussis and pass it to her baby at delivery or during their first year of life.

If the vaccine is administered less than two weeks before baby’s birth, there may not be adequate time for the woman’s antibody levels to be boosted or for antibodies to pass onto her baby before birth. However, Tdap vaccination may still reduce the risk the woman will catch pertussis and pass it to her baby during their first year of life.

Boostrix is recommended, though not funded unless provided by employers, for:

  • Health care staff who work with infants less than one year of age
  • Staff working in long term care facilities
  • Early childhood education staff
  • Students in training for occupations with children
  • Household and other close contacts of infants less than one year of age
  • Adults with a medical condition not specified in the Schedule but in whom prevention of pertussis is important, e.g. those with chronic respiratory/lung disease

Special groups

Boostrix is funded for:

  • pregnant women for each pregnancy (see box)
  • adults post-haematopoietic stem cell transplant (up to four additional doses)
  • parents or primary caregivers of infants admitted to a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit or Specialist Care Baby Unit for more than 3 days and whose mother did not receive a maternal Tdap vaccination at least 14 days before the baby’s birth.

Catch-up doses

Catch-up doses of Boostrix are funded for children and adolescents from 10 years to under 18 years of age who require catch-up immunisation against these diseases, including those who missed their 11 year old booster immunisation.

Boostrix, may be used, and is funded, for children aged between 7-10 years instead of Infanrix-hexa (DTaP-IPV-HepB/Hib) or Infanrix-IPV (DTaP-IPV), when Hib, hepatitis B or polio protection is not required. Boostrix is not approved for use in a primary course or for children in the 7–10 years age group. However, no safety concerns are expected with off-label use. Vaccine choice will be determined by the antigens required and parental consent.

    Storage and preparation

    No special considerations, store as per cold chain between 2°C to 8°C.


    Boostrix can be administered concurrently with other vaccines, including all the National Immunisation Schedule vaccines. Separate syringes and different injection sites should be used.

    The vaccine is administered intramuscularly, into the deltoid.

    Boostrix is funded for use in catch-up schedules in children and young people from aged 7 years up to 18th birthday.

    Pertussis protection for newborn babies

    From 1 July 2019, Boostrix (Tdap) is funded from the second trimester of every pregnancy and recommended to be administered from 16 weeks

    • For best protection of the newborn the booster immunisation is administered from 16 weeks of pregnancy to:
      • allow time for the woman's immune system to produce antibody protection against pertussis (whooping cough)
      • reduce the risk that she will catch pertussis and pass it to her baby at delivery
      • reduces the risk that she will pass pertussis to her baby for the subsequent year when the baby at highest risk of complications from pertussis and until baby is fully protected by their own immunisations
      • ensure there is enough time before birth for high levels of antibodies to pass through the placenta into the baby to provide baby with its own temporary protection against severe disease. (This protection varies between mothers and babies but can remain for at least two months)
    • If a Boostrix vaccine is administered during late pregnancy there may not be adequate time for the woman’s antibody levels to be boosted to pass good protection to baby before birth, however, it will increase the woman's protection against pertussis, and reduce the risk that she will have the disease during the baby's first year of life when their risk of complications from pertussis is highest.
    • After delivery of the baby, administering the Boostrix vaccine (to the mother) may increase her protection against pertussis, reducing the risk that she will have the disease, and therefore risk passing it to her baby, during the baby's first year of life when their risk of complications from pertussis is very high. It will not protect the baby in the earliest weeks of their life when they are at the very highest risk.


    Vaccine safety

    Boostrix should not be given to:

    • Anyone with severe allergy (anaphylaxis) to a previous dose of this vaccine; a previous dose of diphtheria, tetanus or pertussis vaccine or a component of the vaccine
    • Administration of Boostrix should be postponed in individuals suffering from a fever over 38°C. The presence of a minor infection is not a reason to delay immunisation

    People in the following groups shouls seek specialist advice before receiving the vaccine:

    • Those with bleeding disorders, such as haemophilia. The vaccine should be administered in accordance with the haematologist’s instructions. It may, in this situation only, be given subcutaneously

    In the case of a child with a clinically unstable evolving neurological disorder, withholding vaccination until the clinical situation has stabilised should be considered on an individual basis after careful consideration of the risks and benefits.

    Women who are breastfeeding can safely have Boostrix. No adverse consequences for breastfed infants have been observed following vaccination of lactating women.

    Vaccine effectiveness

    After administration of Boostrix to individuals who have previously completed a primary course of tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis immunisations serology of nine in 10 individuals demonstrated protection against tetanus and diphtheria.

    Since, unvaccinated children from 7 years of age and adults are expected to have some immunity to pertussis as a result of exposure to the disease in the community, a single dose of Boostrix is expected boost their existing protection against pertussis. However, a single dose of Boostrix will not provide protection against tetanus and diphtheria in a previously unvaccinated person.

    The current estimate from the CDC around Tdap vaccination is that 70% of adolescents, who have previously been fully immunised with DTaP as part of their primary infant series, will be protected against pertussis. Adolescents and adults who received Tdap and still get pertussis have less severe disease with fewer coughing fits, shorter illness and less likely to have disease complications.

    One research paper suggests that the effectiveness of Tdap against pertussis wanes within 2-4 years in adolescents who have only received acellular pertussis vaccines during their lifetime. Therefore, it is especially important for young mothers to receive a Tdap booster during pregnancy.

    When given in pregnancy, studies in the UK have shown that more than 9 out of 10 infants are protected against severe pertussis in the first 8 weeks of life. US based studies have also demonstrated that prenatal Tdap vaccination significantly reduces the risk of hospitalisation and death of young infants from pertussis and that it was 85% more effective than vaccination of mothers after birth (within 14 days postpartum).

    Pertussis immunity following vaccination only lasts for around 5 years, and repeat doses are needed in those most at risk of infection, such as health and child care workers.

    Last updated: Jul 2020