Queensland to Provide Whooping Cough Vaccines for Pregnant Women – Campaign for all Australian States To Follow

On July the 9th, Queensland Premier Campbell Newman and Health Minister Lawrence Springborg made a long hoped for announcement – Queensland will be providing free Whooping Cough (Pertussis) vaccinations for women in their third trimester of pregnancy, following dedicated campaigning by doctors, parent groups and concerned citizens.

Read more: Free whooping cough vaccine for all pregnant women in Queensland Courier Mail, 10th July 2014.

Premier Campbell Newman and Health Minister Lawrence Springborg announce free whooping cough vaccinations for pregnant women in Queensland.

Premier Campbell Newman and Health Minister Lawrence Springborg announce free whooping cough vaccinations for pregnant women in Queensland.


This is wonderful news for newborns and their families in Queensland. Maternal immunisation during the third trimester of pregnancy and the resulting passive antibody transfer to the infant has been shown to provide substantial protection to newborns during the first two months of life, before they are able to begin receiving whooping cough vaccinations (a three dose schedule, which is completed at six months). Maternal immunisation can also prevent the mother from contracting whooping cough herself, risking passing it on to her vulnerable infant.

Hopefully Queensland’s new policy will pave the way for other Australian states and territories to institute similar schemes, allowing families better access to a measure which can protect newborns from illness, disability and death.

If you are so inclined, please consider writing to and/or tweeting your state or territory leaders, health ministers and shadow health ministers to let them know that there is high community support for the provision of free whooping cough vaccines for pregnant women. I have listed contact details and Twitter accounts for them at the end of this post, and have been tweeting myself, using the hashtag #freewhoopingcoughvax.



I would like to share with you this letter written to the Premier of New South Wales, Mike Baird, and the New South Wales Minister for Health, Jillian Skinner. It was composed by Heidi Robertson and Alison Gaylard on behalf of the Northern Rivers Vaccination Supporters, a community group of concerned citizens who support vaccination and live in an area of New South Wales with alarmingly low vaccination rates.


Wednesday, 9th July, 2014

Dear Premier Baird and Ms. Skinner,

We write with regards the initiative announced by Queensland Premier Campbell Newman this morning (9th July 2014). Premier Newman revealed that Queensland Health will be funding a free Pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine for women in their 3rd trimester of pregnancy.

We sincerely hope that NSW will follow suit with this initiative. It is of course based on the latest research and evidence which states that the Pertussis vaccine given in the third trimester is very effective at protecting the newborn baby during those crucial first two months before they can receive their first Pertussis vaccine. Mothers-to-be are also protected from Pertussis with this initiative which of course reduces the chances of transmission to the baby. Mothers, often being the primary caregiver of the baby, are in close physical proximity on a 24- hour basis and are often inadvertently responsible for passing this potentially deadly infection on to their babies.

Losing a baby to Pertussis, a Vaccine Preventable Disease, is of course devastating; the economic cost to government will also be greatly reduced if less infants need to be hospitalised in Paediatric Intensive Care Units (over 9 out of 10 babies under three months of age need to be hospitalised as a result of contracting pertussis).

Please consider following Queensland in this important endeavour.


Heidi Robertson and Alison Gaylard – acting on behalf of Northern Rivers Vaccination Supporters.


Again, if this issue is important to you, please consider writing or tweeting to your state or territory health MPs. Thank you.

State and Territory Contacts:


New South Wales

Premier Mike Baird
Twitter: @mikebairdMP

Health Minister Jillian Skinner

Shadow Health Minister Dr Andrew McDonald

New South Wales Health Department
Twitter: @NSWHealth


Western Australia

Premier Colin Barnett

Health Minister Dr Kim Hames

Shadow Health Minister Roger Cook

Western Australian Health Department
Twitter: @WAHealth



Premier Dennis Napthine
Twitter: @Vic_Premier

Health Minister David Davis

Shadow Health Minister Gavin Jennings
Twitter: @GavinJennings

Victorian Health Department
Twitter: @VicGovHealth


South Australia

Premier Jay Weatherill
Twitter: @JayWeatherill

Health Minister Jack Snelling

Shadow Health Minister Stephen Wade

South Australia Health Department
Twitter: @SAHealth 



Premier Will Hodgman
Twitter: @WillHodgman

Health Minister Michael Ferguson
Twitter: @fergusonmichael

Shadow Health Minister Rebecca White

Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services
Twitter: @DHHSTas



Chief Minister and Minister for Health Katy Gallagher
Twitter: @KatyGMLA

Shadow Minister for Health Jeremy Hanson
Twitter: @JeremyHansonMLA

ACT Health
Twitter: @ACTHealth


Northern Territory

Chief Minister Adam Giles
Twitter: @adamgiles

Minister for Health Robyn Lambley

Shadow Minister for Health Susan Manison


More information on maternal immunisation for whooping cough:

Tdap for women – information for providers, CDC, 5th March 2014

Get whooping cough vaccine while you are pregnant, CDC, 11th June 2014

Push to immunise against whooping cough in the womb, ABC 7:30 Report, 4th July 2014

NSW Health New Pertussis Vaccination Recommendations, 15th July 2013

NSW Health Whooping Cough – Recommendations for Adults


Stories regarding whooping cough and infants:

An open letter from Toni and David McCaffrey

Pregnant mum feared she would lose baby, Sunday Mail, 13th April 2014.


Community groups in Australia campaigning for maternal immunisation for whooping cough:

Northern Rivers Vaccination Supporters (Facebook) (Twitter)

Dana Elizabeth McCaffery (5 February 2009 – 9 March 2009)



  1. This is really hilarious stuff. I see that you define any “skepticism” relating to challenging the perspective of the established scientific/cultural orthodoxy as “scaremongering”, and yet you illustrate this porovax post with the picture of a semi-naked (and therefore vulnerable looking) young woman cradling her pregnancy bump, bearing the following legend:

    “Whooping cough is a very serious and life threatening disease. Newborn babies are particularly vulnerable to catching it and are the most likely to die from it”

    A fine example of the medical orthodoxy NOT scaremongering. No attempt to quantify these claims? How “likely” is “most likely” for example?

    I’ve noticed a pattern in the medical profession over the last few decades in which grand utopian initiatives are undertaken, implemented, fail, and are then quietly abandoned. I see this as a form of medical megalomania. The first instance of this megalomaniac utopianism was the the prolific and indiscriminate use of antibiotics taht went on in the late eighties and nineties; which the medical establishment now subtly try to blame on their victims. The consequences of this policy are disastrous, but of course, no one is responsible, least of all the people who pushed the treatment.

    Anti-depressants fall into the same category, indeed in the UK, anti-depressants are the first medical option in the treatment of hypothyroidism; crazy but true. Statins is another example of medical megalomania, probably a good parallel to vaccination actually, in that they work well for a majority, but have unacceptably serious side effects for large numbers of patients. Vaccination is the biggest and bravest of these sweeping, five year plan style, initiatives; not unique, just the most successful.

    I could go to my GP tomorrow and come away with a shopping bag full of Statins and anti-depressants, but wouldn’t have a hope in hell’s chance of getting an antibiotic prescription for a bacterial ear infection.

    Keep on “Skeptikin”, guys.

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