The number of cases of babies with whooping cough have more than halved after the Andrews Labor Government reinstated the free whooping cough vaccine for new and expectant parents – axed by the former Liberal Government.
Premier Daniel Andrews today joined Minister for Health, Jill Hennessy, at The Women’s Hospital to release the new data which shows the number of cases of the deadly disease at historically low levels in Victoria.
Under the former Liberal Government, whooping cough notifications skyrocketed with the number of reported cases increasing by close to 60 per cent in 2014, with a total number of 4,615 cases.
From August 2016, doctors have reported only 1,808 cases of whooping cough – down from 3,009 cases at the same time in 2015 – which is a decrease of 40 per cent.
For babies aged one and under, there have only been 30 reported cases of whooping cough, compared to 68 in 2015. This is a massive 56 per cent drop in reported cases.
In June 2015 we brought back the free whooping cough vaccine for expectant parents and parents of newborns after it was cut by the Liberal Government, delivering on a key election promise.
The Parents’ Whooping Cough Vaccination Program is available to all pregnant women from 28 weeks gestation and their partners. In addition, all parents and guardians of newborn babies under six months of age are eligible.
The best protection for babies is achieved in pregnant women when vaccination occurs early in the third trimester.
Since its return June 2015, more than 152,700 whooping cough vaccinations have been provided.
Victorians have also been able to access flu and whooping cough vaccinations at their local pharmacy since June 2016 under a new Labor Government initiative. Nearly 150 people have already accessed this vaccine at their pharmacist so far.
Around 93 per cent of Victorian children under five are fully vaccinated but more needs to be done to reach 95 per cent coverage necessary to halt the spread of dangerous and virulent diseases.