Students encouraged to receive whooping cough vaccine

A vaccine which targets whooping cough is being offered for free to all years 7, 8, 9, and 10 students in Hume who have not yet received an immunisation booster against the debilitating condition.

Hume City Council has visited schools in recent months to deliver the Boostrix vaccine, but more than 1200 students have not been inoculated because families are yet to complete consent forms.

Council’s immunisation nurses will hold three catch-up sessions in October, so that teenagers can be vaccinated against whooping cough, known also as Pertussis.

Hume Mayor, Councillor Adem Atmaca, encouraged eligible families to attend the immunisation sessions.

“It is really important that young people make themselves available to receive the vaccine,” Cr Atmaca said.

“Whooping cough is a terrible illness and it can be very debilitating for sufferers, many of whom exhibit a prolonged cough that can last up to three months.

“The condition is highly contagious and extremely serious for babies, so Council wants to reduce the prevalence of whooping cough across Hume.

“People can catch whooping cough if they come into contact with little droplets, often when a sufferer coughs.

“Whooping cough takes the life of one in every 125 babies under six months who develops the illness, and that’s a tragedy when such a simple vaccine can prevent its spread.”

In previous years, Council has administered the vaccine to all students in year 10, but recent research has shown high rates of whooping cough in youth aged between 12 and 15 years.

From 2016, Hume will offer the vaccine to every year 7 student, to help further reduce the number of people who contract whooping cough.

Cr Atmaca said the Boostrix vaccine provided excellent protection.

“Boostrix not only immunises people against whooping cough, it also prevents diphtheria and tetanus,” he said.

“If students in early and middle secondary school years miss this vaccine, the rate of whooping cough could increase across Hume, and that will risk the health of people of all ages.

“Experts predict that a higher prevalence of whooping cough will result in more people over the age of 60 being hospitalised.

“This is a serious issue. If an eligible teenager only puts one thing in their diary this October, I want it to be a reminder to attend a catch-up immunisation session.”

Hume has contacted families to invite them to the sessions, which are on:

• Monday 12 October 2015, 5.30pm-7.30pm, at Craigieburn Function Rooms, Craigieburn Road (next to the Craigieburn Leisure Centre);
• Wednesday 21 October 2015, 5.30pm-7.30pm, at Sunbury Memorial Hall, Stawell Street (off Barkly Street); and
• Tuesday 27 October 2015, 6.30pm-8.00pm, at Hume Global Learning Centre - Broadmeadows, Pascoe Vale Road.

Eligible students who do not take up the chance to be immunised at a catch-up session will miss their last opportunity to be inoculated against whooping cough free-of-charge.

Hume City Council undertakes a comprehensive immunisation program, and regularly visits schools to administer vaccines.

Students in year 7 have this year been given the chickenpox vaccine and the Human Papillomavirus Vaccine, known as HPV, which reduces the risk of some cancers.

Cr Atmaca encouraged anyone who had questions about Hume’s immunisation program to contact Council.

“We want to help protect the residents of Hume against illnesses which are preventable,” he said.

Further information about Council’s immunisation program is here.

Posted on 12:00 AM, 16 September 2015

Updated : 10:27 AM, 16 September 2015

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