WHOOPING COUGH VACCINE
Over the past few years, changes have been made to the whooping cough vaccine recommendations due to the increasing number of infections. This is thought to be due to immunity from the vaccine declining over time. Adults are a common source of whooping cough infection to babies and children.
The whooping cough vaccine is recommended for women in the third trimester of pregnancy as it is more effective in protecting the newborn baby than vaccination after delivery. Some of this benefit is due to direct transfer of antibodies against whooping cough to the baby via the placenta. Vaccination IS recommended with each pregnancy, even those that are spaced close together.
From March 2016, a whooping cough booster has been added to the National Immunisation Program for children at 18 months of age.
Kids previously were vaccinated at 6 weeks, 4 months, 6 months and 4 years with a booster given at 10-15 years.
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation now recommends a booster dose at 18 months of age to reduce the number of cases of whooping cough in children aged 18 months to 4 years.
MENINGOCOCCAL B VACCINE
Meningococcal disease is serious and potentially deadly bacterial disease which can lead to meningitis (inflammation of the brain) and septicemia (blood infection). There are different strains of meningococcal disease and they are mainly spread via respiratory droplets. The Australian Childhood Immunisation program has included a vaccine against meningococcal C since 2003. Since then, the main strain to cause disease in Australia has been meningococcal B. In Australia, kids aged less than 5yrs of age, particularly toddlers less than 2 years of age, are most likely to get meningococcal B.
There is a vaccine that protects against meningococcal B disease. It is not currently on the National Immunisation Schedule for children but is available privately to purchase.