Auckland parents urged to immunise children as region experiences spike in whooping cough cases

Parents in Auckland are being urged to get their children immunised for the school year as a spike in whooping cough continues.

At the end of last term 28 schools and 17 early childhood centres in the Auckland region had to manage children with the disease, says the Auckland Regional Public Health Service.

Medical Officer of Health Dr Michael Hale says this second wave after the 2017-18 outbreak has seen more cases in five to 10 year olds, and in under ones in the region.

"There’s been a sharp rise in whooping cough notifications this summer with children making up half of the 204 cases from November to January. Over this period, 52 were hospitalised, with infants under one year at highest risk of this.

"Whooping cough is a highly infectious and serious illness. We are urging parents and caregivers to check their children’s immunisations are up to date as they head back to school and childcare," Dr Hale says.

Dr Hale says it is important that children get vaccinated on time as children with whooping cough cannot go to school or early childhood centres for up to two weeks unless they receive antibiotics, disrupting their learning.

The vaccination is free for all children under 18 years, and women in their last three months of pregnancy are eligible for a free vaccination to protect their baby when it is born.

The importance of whooping cough vaccination. Source: Breakfast