19 Jun 2011

Call for extending whooping cough vaccinations

1:15 pm on 19 June 2011

An infectious diseases specialist at Wellington Hospital, Tim Blackmore, is suggesting extending whooping cough vaccinations to some adults.

Dr Blackmore says newborns are vulnerable to the disease before their first immunisation, so certain family members should get shots to protect babies in their first six weeks.

He told Radio New Zealand's Insight programme the extra shots would provide what's called cocoon protection for the newborns, who can get very sick with whooping cough.

Dr Blackmore says it's thought 30% of all adult coughs that last for more than three or four weeks are whooping cough.