Iain Curry

'Plenty' of whooping cough vaccines despite shortage claims

THE Queensland health department has defended claims that there is a shortage of whooping cough vaccinations, saying it has plenty of vaccines for children and pregnant women.

The state's chief health officer Jeannette Young said while there was a worldwide shortage of the vaccine, there was no shortage vaccines for the state's pertussis (whopping cough) immunisation programs.

"The Department of Health supplies the pertussis-containing vaccine to the School Immunisation Program, Childhood Immunisation Program and the Whooping Cough Vaccine for pregnant women program," she said.

Dr Young said there might have been some short term shortages in the private sector where patients were seeking immunisation outside the program.

She said reports of GPs deferring people would only have been cases where the vaccine was not time critical.

Media reports during the weekend reported vaccines were running low and would not be replenished until July

.Dr Young said expectant mothers in their third trimester were encouraged to be vaccinated.

She said it was shown to give direct and effective protection against whooping cough to their newborn babies.

Dr Young also said two booster doses - at 18 months and four years old - were recommended during childhood to protect the child through to their early teens.

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