Free Whooping Cough Vaccine for Parents to Start

Expectant parents and parents of newborns in the City of Kingston will be able to receive the whooping cough vaccine for free from 1 June.

Announced during World Immunisation Week, the Parents’ Whooping Cough Vaccination Program will be available to all pregnant women from 28 weeks gestation and their partners.

In addition, all parents and guardians of newborn babies under six months of age and those born after 1 June will be eligible for the vaccine.

Under the free program, women will be eligible during every pregnancy, and all other parents will be eligible if they have not received a whooping cough vaccine booster dose in the past 10 years.

Whooping cough is a highly contagious disease that affects the air passages and breathing. It causes severe coughing spasms and can lead to complications such as haemorrhage, convulsions, pneumonia, encephalitis and death.

In recent years, there has been a significant increase in cases of whooping cough.

Babies are at risk of contracting whooping cough from birth, with children under 6 months being at greater risk of complications and severe outcomes because they are not fully immunised.

In 2014, notifications of whooping cough cases increased by 57.7 per cent – up from 2,926 in 2013 to 4,615 in 2014. In particular, there was an increase in case notifications among children less than one year old – 115 in 2014, compared to 74 in 2013.

As of 7 April this year, the number of notifications of whooping cough cases across all ages was 1,625 compared with 849 at the same time last year.

From 1 June, parents will be able to receive the free whooping cough vaccine from their local GPs, maternity hospitals, obstetricians and local councils.

The Andrews Labor Government is committed to protecting our children through effective vaccination programs. Unlike the previous Liberal government, that ripped more than $1 billion out of Victoria’s health system.

For more information, including key immunisation dates, visit www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au.

Quotes attributable to Member for Member for Mordialloc, Mr Tim Richardson MP

“Whooping cough can be deadly, especially for newborns and this is why this government is committed to a free Whopping cough vaccination program for expectant parents, parents of newborns and newborn babies less than six months of age.”

“This free vaccination program for mums and dads in will help protect our youngest from this deadly disease.”

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