Free whooping cough vaccine for every pregnant South West woman

The Turnbull Government will provide the whooping cough (pertussis) vaccine to every pregnant woman in the country, protecting both baby and mother from this life-threatening disease.

Member for Forrest Nola Marino said the $39.5 million investment will mean the vaccine is added to the National Immunisation Program, guaranteeing its access, safety and availability for the first time.

“Whooping cough is a terrible disease that can cause life-threatening complications, including pneumonia or brain damage. Babies in their first six months of life are most at risk,” Mrs Marino said.

“Newborns cannot be vaccinated until six weeks of age and the most effective way to protect a baby against the disease is vaccination of the mother during pregnancy.

“Whooping cough is a vaccine preventable disease and I urge all South West mums-to-be to get vaccinated.”

The free vaccine will be available from 1 July 2018 for all pregnant women.

Before listing this vaccine, medical experts from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee and the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation undertook an extensive investigation of this vaccine and determined it to be safe and effective.

The Government acted on the recommendations from both PBAC and ATAGI in making this vaccine available.

This is part of broader investment in immunisation, with Government funding of $460 million in vaccines and related activities through the National Immunisation Program this year alone.