QLD Health expands Free Whooping cough programFebruary 21st, 2011
We have just been advised by QLD Health that they have expanded the free whooping cough (pertussis) vaccination program to include all adults in the household of a baby under 6 months of age. This is great news for the newborns of QLD.
Babies cannot be vaccinated against pertussis until age 2 months. Babies who get whooping cough cannot cough. Babies have episodes where they stop breathing and can die. The only way to protect these newborns is to vaccinate those persons around the baby; eg parents, grandparents etc. Children up to age 20 are protected via the routine childhood immunisation program, and parents and grandparents are already entitled to free vaccination.
Now all the household members can be vaccinated free so the baby can be ‘cocooned’ to help prevent the baby’s caregivers inadvertently bringing pertussus into the household.
Studies have shown most babies with pertussis catch it from their parents or household members. One study in 2006-2008 in the Netherlands, found that 14% of those who gave pertussis to a baby had no symptoms, so it is not good enough just to keep sick persons away from newborn babies.
The Whooping cough vaccine is not available as a separate vaccine, it is included with tetanus and diphtheria vaccines. The vaccine costs about $50 if it is not on the free program.