(Because love and good intentions aren’t enough to protect a newborn.)
Right now, there is a sense of urgency in community health sectors around the world because, after years of effective immunization and disease control, Whooping Cough (also known as Pertussis) is coming back with a vengeance.
For decades, the unimmunized among us had a reduced risk of infection thanks to ‘herd protection’. But that is no longer the case. Fewer immunized people have resulted in more people getting Whooping Cough. And that is putting our newborn babies at risk.
Whooping Cough immunization wears off after a few years.
That Whooping Cough injection you received years ago no longer protects you. There is a mistaken belief in the community that adults ‘can’t get Whooping Cough’ and consequently they don’t need immunization… Wrong! Here in Victoria, most cases of Whooping Cough are in adults aged 20 years and above.
Whooping Cough is terrible — and it’s vaccine-preventable.
Whooping Cough is a particularly terrible illness for those most vulnerable. A newborn cannot be immunized until he or she is at least three months old; seeing a little baby struggling through repeated, violent paroxysms of coughing, then ‘whooping’ in a desperate reflex to breathe, is shocking and distressing for everyone, and it’s made all the worse because it is utterly preventable.
Expecting a baby in the family? Get immunized today!
If you are a doting parent or grandparent, a breastfeeding mum, a childcare worker, carer, sibling or babysitter or someone who will come into contact with babies, talk to your doctor about being tested for your immunization status. That annoying cough you’ve got just might be the milder version of Whooping Cough (sometimes called ‘Ninety Day Cough’) which means you could easily infect a baby and not know it. The vaccine combines whooping cough with diphtheria and tetanus protection. This vaccine is effective within a few days and immunity will continue for the next couple of years and then gradually decrease over the next 10 years, when your immunity will have ceased and another immunization will be advisable.