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Nurse aims to jab entire family

Nurse aims to jab entire family

Howick Resident Gillian Davies is jabbing her entire family.

No, she's not wishing them harm, quite the opposite. Rather, she wants to protect them all from pertussis, more commonly known as whooping cough.

New Zealand experiences an outbreak of whooping cough every three to five years. The latest outbreak began in August 2011 and since then more than 11,200 cases have been reported.

Last month, Mrs Davies gathered her daughter, son-in-law and his brothers, her husband, her son and son's partner at East Tamaki Healthcare's Bairds Rd clinic in Otara to vaccinate them herself.

Mrs Davies, Clinical Services Manager, Nursing and Allied Health at East Tamaki Healthcare, says the birth of her first grandchild and the strong evidence around "cocooning" prompted the vaccination drive.

Associate Professor at Auckland University and Starship Hospital Consultant Paediatrician Cameron Grant explains the importance of creating a cocoon of contacts who are immunised.

"This is the concept of herd immunity, whereby all those in the community who can be immunised are, therefore rendering them incapable of passing the disease to the vulnerable," Associate Professor Cameron Grant says.

Children younger than 12 months of age are at the highest risk of developing serious complications such as pneumonia and brain damage from whooping cough, according to the Ministry of Health.

All pregnant women between 28 and 38 weeks of pregnancy and all children as part of their childhood immunisations are eligible for free vaccinations against whooping cough.

For all other patients, it costs $40 per vaccination at all East Tamaki Healthcare clinics.

Mrs Davies hopes to immunise the rest of the family, including both great-grandparents-to-be over the next few weeks.

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