16 June 2015

More pregnant women get vaccines

WA Health has reported a large increase in the number of pregnant women receiving the whooping cough (pertussis) vaccination following the death of Riley Hughes.

Riley died at just over a month old from complications from pertussis and his parents Greg and Catherine started a campaign called 'Light for Riley'.

Shortly afterwards WA Health started its free vaccination program for pregnant women.

Since the program started in March nearly 4000 pregnant women have received a dose of the pertussis vaccine.

Health Department Communicable Diseases Medical Coordinator Paul Effler said this figure was estimated to be about 62 per cent of all eligible women.

He added that in the UK, where the vaccine has been available for the past five years, the uptake figure is only 16 per cent.

Greg and Catherine have wholeheartedly given their support to WA Health’s program and said they appreciated how quickly the WA Government and other state and territory governments had implemented the free booster program after their son's death.