Vac­ci­nate kids for per­tus­sis

Waihi Leader - - News -

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.

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