Whooping cough

Information about how you can protect your children and staff from whooping cough.

Level of compliance Main audience Other


  • All early learning services 
  • Educators, teachers and kaiako
  • Service managers
  • Parents, caregivers and whānau

If whooping cough is present in an early learning service, that service should take action to ensure that children and staff are safe.

Getting vaccinated

Vaccinations are the best form of protection from whooping cough.

  • Education providers can ask parents to get their children vaccinated.
  • Vaccination is free for all children.

To find out how to get the vaccination, visit the Immunisation Advisory Centre website, or call 0800 466 863(external link).

Immunisation Advisory Centre website(external link)

Identifying whooping cough

Both adults and children can get whooping cough.

  • Whooping cough usually starts with a runny nose and an annoying cough, often lasting for around 2 weeks.
  • Symptoms develop into violent coughing, which may have a 'whooping' sound and end with vomiting.

A person can have the illness for a long time. Whooping cough is also known as the '100-day cough' because of the extended length of the illness.

How whooping cough spreads

When a carrier of whooping cough coughs or sneezes, they spread the fluid through the air and onto surfaces, which can contaminate others who come into contact with it.

Someone with whooping cough can be infectious from the early stages of infection, when they may have a runny nose, right through to three weeks after they experience fits of coughing.

If a child or staff member has whooping cough

If you suspect that a child has whooping cough, you can insist that the parents take them to a doctor. They should return to your ECE service or kōhanga reo only after they have been cleared by the doctor.

Any staff with a persistent cough should see their doctor and stay away from the ECE service or kōhanga reo until the doctor is sure that they do not have whooping cough.

Communicable diseases in early learning services and schools

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