Free whooping cough vaccine
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.