Private whooping cough vaccinations in short supply at Queensland chemists: Pharmacy Guild

A shortage with private stocks of the whooping cough vaccination has left Queensland chemists unable to fill prescriptions, the Pharmacy Guild of Queensland (PGQ) says.

Last year the State Government introduced a free program to vaccinate pregnant women against whooping cough or pertussis.

Since then, more than 20,000 people have been immunised against the illness, which can be potentially fatal for newborn babies.

PGQ spokesman Tim Logan said the spike in demand, coupled with an existing global shortage, had limited private stocks.

"Pharmacies are in the unfortunate situation where they're having to tell people they're unable to fulfil prescriptions," he said.

"In my own pharmacy I've got prescriptions that have been presented to me back in August that I have not been able to fill the vaccine for."

A spokesman for Queensland Health said there was no shortage of vaccines for free immunisation programs for children and pregnant women.

He said vaccination against whooping cough in the third trimester of pregnancy offered the best protection for newborn babies, until they were old enough to be vaccinated from six weeks of age.

'They couldn't get the vaccine'

Rockhampton resident Stephanie Jones said she tried to get the injection before she met her brother's new baby, but had great difficulty finding it.

"The only vaccination I could get was a dosage of polio with it as well," she said.

"The nurse said they only had a limited supply and didn't know when it would be back in stock."

Ms Jones said some of her other family members gave up.

"Some of them actually didn't get it because they couldn't find it — they couldn't get the vaccine so they had to wait," she said.

"But now since the other sister is due in a few months she's made it apparent that we have to have it."

The PGQ said it was advisable everyone be vaccinated at least two weeks before coming into close contact with newborns.

Source: ABC News

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