Queensland's pregnant mums to be vaccinated

QUEENSLAND will be the first Australian state to vaccinate women while they are pregnant, as part of a government plan to protect newborns from the threat of whooping cough.

Premier Campbell Newman announced the program today at a Brisbane childcare centre.

The free vaccine will be provided to women in their third trimester, provided it is safe to do so.

"Infants typically had their first whooping cough vaccination at two months of age, so the vaccine for pregnant women would cover the baby for those crucial first few months," Mr Newman said.

"Whooping cough is highly contagious and very serious for babies and young children, so by minimising their exposure to the virus we can give our newborns the very best start in life."

Expecting mothers will not be the only ones being considered for a booster shot to immunisation rates.

Mr Newman said school-based vaccinations also formed part of the state's broader immunisation strategy.

"We vaccinate adolescents at school to protect them against diseases such as diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough," Mr Newman said.

"We also provide the HPV vaccine to protect against a range of cancers, including cervical cancer.

Health Minister Lawrence Springborg said Queensland was on-par with other states for vaccinations but complacency was not an option.

"All Queenslanders should embrace this strategy and work together to achieve our vision of having the highest immunisation rates in Australia," he said.

High school students are given the Human Papillomavirus vaccine for free, as long as they receive all three doses before the end of year 11.

The government also unveiled "VacciDate", a smart phone app so parents could track vaccine and booster dates.



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