26 Feb 2014

Whooping cough campaign urged

3:18 pm on 26 February 2014

A Christchurch Coroner is urging the Ministry of Health to promote a whooping cough immunisation campaign to expectant mothers so their babies are immunised by the time they are born.

Six-week-old Alaya-Reign Faalilo Ma'anaima died of the disease in Christchurch Hospital in September 2012.

Coroner Sue Johnson found the premature girl contracted the disease before the due date of her inoculations, which is usually at six weeks.

At the time of her death, she was only just past the date she was supposed to have been born.

Pediatrician Nick Baker told the court on Wednesday that babies younger than six weeks are solely dependent on maternal antibodies against the disease.

Dr Baker said the vaccination of women in the last trimester has been government-funded since January last year, but there is very little uptake.

The Coroner says the Ministry of Health needs to create a campaign to make expectant mothers more aware.