Whoop­ing jab free for new mums

Sunday Territorian - - NEWS -

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.

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