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Whooping cough jabs for mum and dad protect baby

19 April 2013

Whooping cough jabs for mum and dad protect baby

Whooping cough is an extremely contagious disease that is easily spread through everyday actions such as sneezing. Three out of four new-born babies with whooping cough have caught it from their mother or other close family members. However, whooping cough is easily prevented.

“I didn’t want to pass anything on to my baby once he or she arrives,” said expectant father, Terry Stilgoe, who recently made the decision to get the Boostrix vaccination. He and his partner Brooke Rangi are expecting their first baby in May and for them the decision to immunise against whooping cough was easy.

“No one wants a sick little baby when it only takes 20 minutes to get resistance for you and them at the same time,” said Brooke, who sees the Boostrix vaccination as the best way to protect their baby.

Boostrix is recommended for pregnant women, grandparents and people who come into contact with new-borns, to reduce the risk of whooping cough being passed on. “A friend of ours is a local immunisation advocate, and she gave us advice and information to get us thinking about it,” said Terry. “Brooke’s mum also gave us a lot of advice and really promoted the benefits and protection of getting vaccinated.”

Whooping cough is extremely serious in babies, particularly during their first 5 months of life. It may cause them to go blue or appear to stop breathing, and it is very likely that they will end up in hospital. Severe whooping cough can also lead to pneumonia, fits or in the worst cases, brain damage or death.

“We recommend that pregnant women consider immunisation to protect themselves and their new-borns from this terrible disease,” said Teneille Ogilvy, Eastern Bay Primary Health Alliance Immunisation Advocate. “A pregnant woman passes on protection to their unborn baby through the transfer of antibodies across the placenta to the fetus. These antibodies offer some level of protection from severe whooping cough for the first few weeks of life.”

Boostrix is free for pregnant women between 28 and 38 weeks of gestation.

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