THE tragic death of an infant in New South Wales from whooping cough highlighted the importance of immunisation for new Gympie region mums and dads as well as babies and children, according to Dr Peter Dobson from Sunshine Coast Medicare Local.
"While immunisation is the safest and most effective way of preventing disease, there is a window of about six weeks before babies can receive their vaccinations when they are at risk of contracting the disease," he said.
"Queensland Health offers free whooping cough boosters for pregnant women in their third trimester, which provides protection for babies in the critical first few weeks of life until they can be immunised.
"We urge pregnant women, dads and grandparents to see their GP and make sure they are up to date on their vaccinations to give new babies the best possible protection.
"The immunisation schedule offers protection against a range of serious diseases including whooping cough, measles, rotavirus, tetanus and some forms of meningitis.
"All vaccinations on the Australian schedule are provided free of charge."
The Sunshine Coast region's vaccination rate is among the lowest in the country, and has the nation's highest rate of registered vaccination refusers, putting the entire community at risk of potentially deadly disease.