Whooping jab free for new mums
EXPECTANT mothers throughout Australia will have guaranteed access to a free whooping cough vaccine, with $40 million earmarked for a national immunisation program in Tuesday’s budget.
All states and territories currently offer different vaccination programs for soon-tobe mums who can receive the jab while pregnant and pass antibodies on to their babies.
Babies are too young to be vaccinated before six weeks of age, leaving them vulnerable to the potentially-fatal infection. Each state and territory currently offers different whooping cough vaccination programs with no guarantee of ongoing funding.
In NSW the free boosters for parents and grandparents was axed after the 2008-12 whooping cough epidemic, before the state government reintroduced the program.
Advocates have long called for the jab to be added to the National Immunisation Program to provide certainty for families.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt urged all mums-tobe to get vaccinated.
“There are now no barriers and no excuses for not protecting yourself, your family and the rest of the community.”
The free vaccine will be available from July 1.