Free whooping cough vaccine for pregnant women

Free whooping cough vaccine for pregnant women

Free whooping cough vaccine for pregnant women

The State Government has introduced free whooping cough vaccinations for all pregnant women in Tasmania from June 2015.

The free vaccine will be available for all women in their third trimester in a move that will protect newborns in the first weeks of life.

Women can get the vaccine from their GP and from councils that provide adult vaccinations. Hospital antenatal services may also choose to provide the vaccine.

The ideal time for vaccination is between weeks 28 and 32 of pregnancy.

Getting the vaccination during the last trimester of pregnancy gives babies protective immunity from birth up until their own vaccinations start to work.

It is important for mothers to have the vaccine in every pregnancy to ensure maximum protection to every infant even if pregnancies are closely spaced.

Whooping cough can be deadly, especially for newborns, and this program provides them with the protection they need during the first weeks of life.

The Tasmanian Government will fund the program following an update to the10th Edition of the Australian Immunisation Handbook in late March that recommended whooping cough vaccination in the third trimester of pregnancy.

Since the introduction of whooping cough vaccines, serious cases have become much less common.

Despite this, whooping cough still comes and goes in cycles that peak roughly every four to five years.

The last time Tasmania saw a large peak was in 2012, with 1 276 cases, so cases are expected to increase again in the next couple of years.

When whooping cough is in the community, very young infants are at greatest risk because their first vaccine dose cannot be given until six weeks of age.

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Contact a clinical nurse consultant for more information on the recommendations or about ordering vaccines on 1800 671 738.

08 May 2015