New born baby dies of whooping cough

Nikki - posted on 02/17/2011 ( 16 moms have responded )




The death of a newborn baby from whooping cough in Melbourne this week has triggered fresh calls for Australians to vaccinate against the highly contagious disease.

Health authorities in Victoria say it is the first death to be linked to the disease since 2004.

A Health Department spokesman said 1,300 infections had been reported since January, more than double the number for the same period last year.

Dr Jenny Royle, a paediatrician with the immunisation service at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne, is urging Australians young and old to check they are up to date with their whooping cough vaccinations.

"The whooping cough vaccine that we use is very safe and effective. But it doesn't provide life-long protection," she said.

"So the whole adult population actually are at risk of catching whooping cough bacteria.

"So if we've got a family who are about to have a new baby then people should plan that any adults in contact with the baby should have a single whooping cough booster.

"The mum can have a whooping cough booster as soon as the baby is born. The father should have a whooping cough booster because it's very difficult to know if the chest infection you've got is actually whooping cough."

Dr Royle says vaccination against whooping cough is crucial.

"The difficulty we have is we have limited treatment options for whooping cough so whilst we can be very supportive and admit a child to hospital and we've got the intensive care unit and give oxygen, by far the way to go is prevention," she said.

"And until a baby has had three doses of whooping cough vaccine they can actually be totally vulnerable to the whooping cough bacteria, so until every baby is six months of age they can actually catch whooping cough infection."

She says babies need to be protected against the disease at all times.

"What we need to do is make sure the babies get their immunisations on time, we give babies three vaccines at two months, four months, six months, but at the moment we can actually give the two-month vaccine from six weeks of age," she said.

"If we narrow the window period where a baby is not protected, then that is a fantastic thing and we will save lives and stop babies from being admitted to hospital."

Dr Royle says the benefits of vaccinating far outweigh the risks.

"I think the vast majority of families in Australia, when they are highly informed, demand immunisations, feel comfortable with the decision to immunise," she said.

"It's a dangerous time to decide to give those vaccines late, a dangerous time to decide not to give those vaccines.

"[It] doesn't mean people's questions aren't valid but we weigh up the wonderful benefits of prevention verse the small amounts of risk and I think the reason for vaccinating, particularly at the moment throughout the whole of Australia, is compelling."

As a mother who vaccinates, this article really angers me, this could be prevented.
I am interested to hear how mother's that don't vaccinate (for non medical reasons) their children feel about this?


Sharon - posted on 02/17/2011




The mothers' who don't have a valid medical reason to avoid vaxing... feel its their right to gamble not only with their childrens lives, but their childrens futures, their childrens ability to bear children later in life and of course its their right to gamble with everyone elses childrens' lives.

Nikki - posted on 02/18/2011




Krista even with family history of severe allergies it can be possible. My hubby had a near fatal reaction to the whooping cough vaccine as a baby. I was really worried about vaccinating my daughter, but my doctor suggested a very small test dose to begin with. She was fine thankfully, no reactions.

Also when I was researching vaccinations before my daughter was two months I spoke with a vaccination specialist from the government and he said that the components of many vaccines have changed dramatically over the past 20 years, therefore even if parents have had a severe reaction when they were babies it doesn't necessarily mean that their children will have reactions.

This is possibly the only reason I agreed to the test dose with my daughter because the vaccine he was allergic to has changed so much.

I know it can be scary when there is someone in the family with a severe reaction history, god knows my MIL scared the absolute crap out of me over the issue, but I am glad that I did the proper research and made the best decision for my daughter.

Sara - posted on 02/18/2011




Very sad because it's totally preventable. I think the biggest thing with Whooping Cough is that adults don't get their boosters. My doctor told me that they now include the whooping cough vaccine in tetanus shots, so if you've had a tetanus shot recently you should be ok.

Stifler's - posted on 02/18/2011




Non vaxers make me laugh. "If vaccination makes you immune, why are you worried about my kid not being vaccinated"... this says to me they clearly haven't done much "research" on vaccination.

Becky - posted on 02/18/2011




I don't think anyone is trying to say that the mother was at fault here. The article refers to the child as a newborn, so I'd guess that means too young to be vaccinated. The discussion is about people who don't vaccinate kids who are able to be vaccinated, or keep up on vaccinations for themselves, thereby putting those who cannot be vaccinated because of age or medical issues, at serious risk.


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Tabitha - posted on 02/18/2011




I am a little confused about this. It doesn't say how old the baby is. I do know that they receive the vaccine at about 2 months old for the first shot.Its not even effective before two months of age.It also doesnt say wether or not the child actually got vaccinated if he was older than 2 months. And keep in mind only 1 shot is not going to make the child immune. So therefore we can't really speculate wether the mother was at fault for the childs death. The concern seems more that the adults in the childrens life get a booster whooping cough vaccine so they can prevent the spread to the baby. That is very crucial in keeping the baby healthy. Though i think it is unrealistic because a baby can get wooping cough from anywhere and not just the parents. And we all know that not everyone in the hospital is going to go get a whooping cough vaccine so your baby doesnt get sick. This is one of the reasons why doctors tell you to keep newborns away from crowded places, stores,malls ect. for the first 2 months.I agree that it is essentail to get your child immunized at the age requirements, but don't be so quick to point a finger to a mother if their child gets sick from one of these diseases. Even with the shot the child is still succeptible for 2 weeks afterwards.And they are not fully protected until the receive all of the booster shots. Just keep that in mind when you hear stories like this. And be vigiliant when it comes to keeping your newborn away from anyone sick, even if it means you virtually become a hermit on your own house the first few months. That extra step may very well save your childs life, even if it does seems a bit over the top.

Melissa - posted on 02/18/2011




Ive been late with vaccinations when my kids have been sick but always get them, they just tell us to get the followuing injections late as well. My girl is 7 months in a few days and has not had her 6 month ones yet. We booked them she had a touch of a cold we cancelled and now were finally able to rebook since I wont hold my kids for injections hubby hasd to get time off work. I definately think its not right to not get injections except if there is a medical reason like family history of problems. One of the bubs from the same hospital as my daughter I used to visit her mother doesnt vaccinate. It was a little bit worrying

Krista - posted on 02/18/2011




I echo Tracey's sentiments. I don't blame you for being out for blood -- I would be as well.

And I guess that's what pisses me off about the anti-vaxxers: they always say, "But me not vaccinating MY kid won't affect YOUR kid, if you DO vaccinate." Um, not every kid CAN be vaccinated, dipshit. Some are too young, and some have medical complications that preclude vaccination.

If you choose not to vaccinate because you have a family history of severe allergies, then I can respect that. But if your only reason for not vaccinating is because of all of the "facts" you learned from Doctor Internet, then please come over here so that I can stick my foot up your ass.

Sneaky - posted on 02/17/2011




I can't answer your question Nikki, because I do vaccinate - unfortunately my three week old daughter ended up in hospital with suspected whooping cough because she was too young for the vaccination - mum dad and siblings are all up to date, so if I EVER found out who exposed her I will freaking KILL their ass. Even now I can have an anxiety attack just remembering how scared I was.

As to how non-vaccinating mother's feel, I can only assume that they really do NOT care. If they don't care about their own child's health and well being, why would they care about someone else's?

Sal - posted on 02/17/2011




i am avid in vaccinations and believe fully that you don;t do it to stop just your child getting sick but for all those who can't, my kids are basically strong kids (even without extended bf) and would probally get a bit crook and get over it, new born babies and kids with other issues who cannot be vaccinated maybe wouldn;t fair so well. I am so angry with mums who spout the autism/vaccination link seen as it has now been pretty much thrown out of the water with doing no more reasearch than watching old episodes of oprah, this isn't about your kid only it is about everyones children, one woman actaully had the hide to say, if everyone else if done why do have to bother,,,,,i was very upset with that type of selfish attitude

Nikki - posted on 02/17/2011




I had my whooping cough booster the day after my daughter was born. My husband couldn't because he had a near fatal reaction when he was a baby. I just can't understand how this sort of thing doesn't shake parents who choose not to vaccinate.

Becky - posted on 02/17/2011




I'm going to ask them about a booster when I take Zach in for his 18 month vaccinations next month, because I'm sure I must be due. I can't remember the last time I had one.
I wonder, if they're giving it as early as 6 weeks, if they've separated it out of the DTAP-HIb vaccination or if they're giving the whole thing 2 weeks earlier? I'd love to see it separated (maybe it is already and I just don't know), because I think maybe more people would give it if it were. I think people might take Whooping cough a little more seriously than they take diptheria and tetanus.

Kate CP - posted on 02/17/2011




I got my booster the day after I gave birth! Whooping cough scares the shit outta me. :(

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