Protecting Bubs: Whopping Cough Epidemic


Minister for Health and Ageing


21 February 2011


As the current whooping cough epidemic continues, Health and Ageing Minister Nicola Roxon has reminded parents to protect their children with vaccinations, which can begin six weeks after birth.

“All parents should take advantage of the free vaccines provided by the Australian Government to protect young children from whooping cough,” Ms Roxon said.

“Babies can be protected with vaccinations at six to eight weeks after birth, then at four months, and then when they reach six months old.

“Vaccines worth about $86 million will be provided in 2010-2011––free of charge for infants, children and adolescents.

“Babies are not fully protected until their third dose of the vaccine, so it is important for those around new babies to be free of infection.

“While the vaccine for adults is not on the National Immunisation Program Schedule, several states and territories have funded a booster-vaccination program for adults, and the vaccine is available for private purchase.

“Parents of new babies should ask their GP about a whooping cough vaccination for themselves to prevent passing on infection to their unprotected baby.

“Fathers can be immunised before the baby’s birth, while mothers should be immunised soon after the baby is born.

“Vaccinations should also be considered for siblings, parents and close family members and their immunisation should be up to date before a new baby arrives.

“The Australian Government is working with states and territories to promote the uptake of vaccines.”

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