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Pertussis message from MOH


Message from the Ministry of Health: You may already be aware that New Zealand is in the early stages of a national outbreak of whooping cough (pertussis). Babies aged up to one are particularly vulnerable to whooping cough. They often catch it from older siblings, parents, or other family members.

It’s important to raise awareness of timely immunisations as a crucial way for parents/whānau and pregnant women to protect their babies and children against whooping cough. Babies are at greatest risk when they are very young. When pregnant women are vaccinated, they pass their immunity on to their baby, protecting them until they are able to be immunised at 6 weeks.

When you are talking with expectant mothers or whānau, please discuss the importance of immunisation between 28 and 38 weeks of pregnancy. It is free and available through general practices. Please remind mothers or whānau to take baby for their free immunisations when they’re 6 weeks, 3 months and 5 months old.

From 1 January–10 November 2017, a total of 1315 cases of whooping cough were notified around the country. Of these cases, 82 were babies aged less than one year old. Half of these babies were hospitalised.

National whooping cough resources are available through HealthEd.

More information aimed at the public is available on the Ministry’s webpages: Whooping Cough, hand washing, good hygiene.

Please be aware the whooping cough outbreak may result in media attention. Please alert your communications advisors/spokespeople to this possibility. Please continue to promote vaccination amongst your staff, especially those working with babies, children and pregnant women.