FREE WHOOPING COUGH VACCINE FOR PARENTS

Expectant parents and parents of newborns in Narre Warren South will be able to receive the free whooping cough vaccine from 1 June.

The Parents’ Whooping Cough Vaccination Program will be available to all pregnant women from 28 weeks gestation and their partners. Parents and guardians of newborn babies under six months of age and those born after 1 June will also be eligible for the vaccine.

Under the free program, which was axed by the previous Liberal Government, women will be eligible during every pregnancy, and all other parents will be eligible if they have not received a whooping cough vaccine booster dose in the past 10 years.

Whooping cough is a highly contagious disease that affects the air passages and breathing. It causes severe coughing spasms and can lead to complications such as haemorrhage, convulsions, pneumonia, encephalitis and death.

In recent years, there has been a significant increase in cases of whooping cough. In 2014, notifications of whooping cough cases increased by 57.7 per cent – up from 2,926 in 2013 to 4,615 in 2014.

From 1 June, local families will be able to receive the free whooping cough vaccine from their GPs, maternity hospitals, obstetricians and local councils.

Ms Graley said that through this program and its’ No Jab, No Play policy, the Andrews Labor Government is making it very clear that vaccinations are vital to protect our children.

“Whooping cough can be deadly, especially for newborns but through vaccination it is a disease we can and will prevent,”

“This program will ensure that our most vulnerable receive the protection they need and give parents much needed peace of mind.”

For more information, including key immunisation dates, visit www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au.