A new program of free whooping cough vaccinations will be offered to pregnant women, following on from the tragic death of baby Riley Hughes who succumbed to the disease.
The program was been welcomed by Riley’s parents, although they were saddened it hadn’t been offered earlier so they could have avoided losing their child.
Health minister Jack Snelling said that infants were unable to complete the required series of vaccinations, but immunizing their mothers could decrease their vulnerability to whooping cough.
“By giving the mother a whooping cough vaccination in the last trimester of pregnancy, this immunity is transferred to the baby, providing over 90 per cent protection.” Mr Snelling said.
Mr Snelling hopes that expectant mothers will take advantage of the free jab and not have to deal with the devastating consequences faced by baby Riley’s family.
The optimal time for vaccination is between 28 and 32 weeks, however the jab can be given at any time during the third trimester up to delivery.
Women are being urged to let their GP’s know they need the vaccine to ensure their doctor can make sure the boosters are in stock.