By: King, Rhianna
The state government of Western Australia has extended a free whooping cough vaccination program for a third time so that it runs through the end of 2012. The program is open to parents of young babies and is part of the state’s efforts to end the whooping cough epidemic that had been going since the middle of 2011. The epidemic has produced 1,850 cases in the state since January 2012. Health Minister Kim Hames noted that several thousand new mothers, fathers, grandparents and other newborn caregivers have been vaccinated since the program began in January 2011. Hames also said that the number of cases in Western Australia has begun to decline, though a more significant reduction in the state will be needed before the program can be ended.