A NEW vaccination program for pregnant women will help protect their newborn babies from deadly whooping cough.
Unveiling the initiative at a Brisbane childcare centre today, Premier Campbell Newman said the program would address the first few weeks of life, during which newborns exposed to whooping cough were in deadly danger.
“Queensland will be the first state in Australia to provide this free vaccine to women in their third trimester of pregnancy where it is safe to do so,” Mr Newman said.
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“Infants typically had their first whooping cough vaccination at two months of age, so the vaccine for pregnant women would cover the baby for those crucial first few months.
“Whooping cough is highly contagious and very serious for babies and young children, so by minimising their exposure to the virus we can give our newborns the very best start in life.”
Health Minister Lawrence Springborg said immunisation rates in Queensland were generally on-par with other states and territories, but communities could not afford to become complacent.
“Our strategy is to ensure that 95 per cent of Queensland children and 85 per cent of adolescents are fully immunised,” Mr Springborg said.
“All Queenslanders should embrace this strategy and work together to achieve our vision of having the highest immunisation rates in Australia.”
Vaccines listed on the National Immunisation Program Schedule are free for eligible children and adults.
To read the strategy, visit the Queensland Government’s publication portal and search for immunisation.
For more information on immunisation visit the Queensland Government website.