INFECTION INCREASE: Nurse Tania Dowsett is urging parents to vaccinate their children.
INFECTION INCREASE: Nurse Tania Dowsett is urging parents to vaccinate their children. Katherine Morris

Whooping cough cases are on the increase

KINGAROY nurse Tania Dowsett is urging parents to vaccinate their children as whooping cough cases rise in the South Burnett.

Mrs Dowsett said she had seen an increase in patients with contagious diseases at the Glendon Street Medical Centre, including whooping cough, measles and mumps.

"There is also an international shortage of whooping cough vaccine because of outbreaks around the world," Mrs Dowsett said.

"It's really hard to get at the moment."

Mrs Dowsett said she encouraged women to get vaccinated for whooping cough while pregnant, which is free.

Darling Downs Public Health Unit Director Dr Penny Hutchinson said whooping cough cases had increased in the Darling Downs public health unit in the past three months.

"It can affect people of any age, in teens and adults infection may cause a persistent cough, however for babies and young children it can be life threatening," she said.

"Most hospitalisations and deaths occur in children under the age of six months."

Dr Hutchinson said vaccination was the best way to control whooping cough.

All childhood vaccinations are free for children and throughout high school from the doctor or community health.

Mrs Dowsett said she had seen a rise of children being vaccinated after the No Jab No Pay legislation came into force.

"It's the simple fact that the No Jab No Pay legislation has come in, more and more parents are deciding to vaccinate," she said.

"All vaccinations are free for children and throughout out high school," she said.

"In the end it's the parent's choice."

She said in her more than 20 years of nursing she had always seen parents who had decided against getting their children vaccinated.

"They've always had the right to say no, but the government is making it harder," she said.

She said she had noticed a rise in teenagers who had not been fully vaccinated.

Mrs Dowsett said she felt people made the choice because they did not have enough knowledge on the importance of vaccinating.

"There is no scientific proof, we see the manifestation of autism at the age children are getting vaccinated, there is no actual proof," she said.

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