Australia

Pregnant to get whooping cough vaccine

Pregnant women will have access to free whooping cough vaccinations to protect their newborns. (AAP)

The Turnbull government has announced all pregnant women will have access to the free whooping cough vaccine.

All pregnant women in Australia will have access to a free whooping cough vaccination from July.

The Turnbull government has added the vaccine to the national immunisation program at a cost of $39.5 million.

"There are now no barriers and no excuses for not protecting yourself, your family and the rest of the community," Health Minister Greg Hunt said on Sunday.

Newborns cannot be vaccinated until six weeks of age so the most effective way to protect a baby against the disease is for the mother to have the vaccine, he said.

Mr Hunt said he knows the devastating impact the disease can have on families like the McCaffrey's and Hughes'.

Catherine and Greg Hughes' son Riley died of whooping cough in 2015, while David and Toni McCaffery lost their four-week-old daughter Dana in 2009.

Both families have campaigned for the vaccine.

The government will also roll out a national public education campaign about the vaccination.

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