Vaccinate kids for pertussis
Mothers and pregnant women are being urged to take advantage of free immunisation for their children as a whooping cough outbreak continues to affect the Western Bay.
Whooping cough, known as pertussis, is a serious illness that can be especially dangerous for babies and young children.
So far this year, authorities have been notified of 231 people in the Western Bay of Plenty having caught the disease, including 172 in Tauranga.
This compares with just 75 in Tauranga for the whole of last year.
The Western Bay of Plenty Primary Health Organisation (PHO) and Toi Te Ora Public Health say mothers can protect their children against the disease by visiting their family doctors for free vaccinations.
Tauranga GP and PHO co-chair Dr Luke Bradford said pregnant women should get a free vaccination for themselves between 28 and
38 weeks of pregnancy.
“The whooping cough vaccine is safe for use in pregnancy,” Dr Bradford said.
“The vaccine itself will not get passed on to baby, but the mother’s immunity to whooping cough will.”
Dr Bradford said that babies should get their free vaccinations at six weeks, three months and five months of age.
“Your baby needs to have three doses of the vaccine to be protected against whooping cough — even if you were immunised during pregnancy.”
Washing your hands often and covering coughs and sneezes can also help prevent whooping cough from spreading.
It is especially important not to cough near babies, as whooping cough is spread by coughing and sneezing.