Queensland expands whooping cough vaccinations
The Queensland government's free vaccination program for whooping cough has been expanded, as the risk from the illness continues to rise in the state.
Health Minister Geoff Wilson says the government announced in July 2009 that the free whooping cough vaccination program would include new parents and it has now been expanded to cover other close relationships.
"The free whooping cough vaccination program now includes parents, foster parents, adoptive parents, and grandparents of babies under six months of age and anyone living in a household with a baby under six months of age," Mr Wilson said in a statement.
Advertisement: Story continues below The health minister said 1333 cases of the illness have been reported in Queensland in 2011 already and follows an increase in 2010.
"In 2010 there were 8,021 reported cases of whooping cough in Queensland compared to 6,213 in 2009.
"This is a 2.7 per cent increase, which demonstrates the growing risk of whooping cough in Queensland." Mr Wilson said the expansion of the program would mean twice as many people were eligible for vaccinations and he expected it to result in better protection and better health prospects for the youngest Queenslanders.
He said unprotected babies could become seriously ill if someone caring for them passes on the disease and he has urged eligible Queenslanders to take advantage of the free vaccine.
Anyone eligible for the whooping cough vaccination is urged to see their normal immunisation provider.
For more information about whooping cough and vaccinations, ask your doctor, contact 13HEALTH (13 43 25 84) or refer to the brochure on the Queensland Health website: www.health.qld.gov.au/ph/documents/cdb/whooping—cough—broch.pdf