Free whoop­ing cough vac­cine

The Tatura Guardian - - News -

The Vic­to­rian La­bor Gov­ern­ment will rein­tro­duce free whoop­ing cough vac­cines for expectant par­ents and par­ents of new­borns, a pro­gram axed in 2012 un­der the for­mer Lib­eral Gov­ern­ment.

The La­bor Gov­ern­ment is con­cerned about the sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in cases of per­tus­sis, com­monly called whoop­ing cough, and will im­me­di­ately be­gin a thor­ough ten­der process to pro­cure the vac­cines.

In the past 12 months, there has been a 57.7 per cent in­crease in no­ti­fi­ca­tions of cases, from 2926 in 2013 to 4615 in 2014.

In par­tic­u­lar, there has been an in­crease in cases among chil­dren less than one year old — 115 no­ti­fi­ca­tions of cases in 2014, com­pared to 74 in 2013.

‘‘Ever since the Lib­er­als axed this vac­ci­na­tion pro­gram for par­ents, we have seen cases of whoop­ing cough sky­rocket,’’ Premier Daniel An­drews said.

‘‘Whoop­ing cough can be deadly, es­pe­cially for new­borns.’’

‘‘Un­der our plan, mums-and-dads-tobe will be able to re­ceive the whoop­ing cough vac­cine for free so we can pro­tect more ba­bies from this life-threat­en­ing dis­ease.’’

Par­ents will be el­i­gi­ble for the free vac­cine from when the expectant mother en­ters the third trimester un­til the baby is six months old.

This ex­panded el­i­gi­bil­ity is based on new in­ter­na­tional ev­i­dence which shows that the whoop­ing cough vac­cine is safe and ef­fec­tive when ad­min­is­tered to preg­nant women in the third trimester, up to at least two weeks be­fore birth.

Expectant moth­ers will trans­fer pro­tec­tive an­ti­bod­ies to the un­born child, and be pro­tected when their child is born.

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