Whooping cough vaccine saved her daughter's life
A DURANBAH mum who believes vaccinations saved her youngest child's life is urging Tweed Shire Council to join a campaign to maintain subsidised jabs in the region.
In late 2011, Debbie Procter's youngest child Abbie was the first to contract whooping cough in the family, followed by Debbie and her oldest daughter Olivia.
Ms Procter said then six-month-old Abbie would turn blue during severe coughing fits and it was a struggle to rouse her because she was so fatigued.
The family's fears were compounded by knowing the Lennox Head parents of a child who died from whooping cough two months before Abbie was born.
"You're in this constant state of hyper-vigilance; dreading the next coughing fit," Debbie said.
Abbie was transferred from Tweed to Brisbane's Mater Hospital after also contracting a gastric virus which Debbie blames on the whooping cough weak- ening her immune system.
Currumbin has the lowest rate in the Tweed and southern Gold Coast area, with just 84% of one-year-old fully vaccinated.
But Debbie, a nurse, says Abbie survived due to being up to date with her vaccinations.
"You can still get whooping cough but you don't get it nearly as badly," she said.
Debbie is a member of The Northern Rivers Vaccination Supporters group, which is campaigning to increase vaccination levels in a region which has the lowest rates in the nation.
Currumbin has the lowest rate in the Tweed and southern Gold Coast area, with just 84% of one-year-olds fully vaccinated.
The group is concerned that after four years of the State Government funding free jabs, those being vaccinated by their GP will now be made to pay.
Vaccinations cost between $40 and $200.
The NSW Health Department says a whooping cough epidemic that began in 2008 has now passed so the free jabs will end.
Ballina Council has passed a unanimous vote to write to the State Gov- ernment to protest against the plan to wind back the subsidy, arguing it is necessary to encourage vaccinations in a low socio-economic area.
Byron and Lismore councils have said they will follow suit.
Tweed Shire has not yet indicated whether it will support the campaign, but support group founder Alison Gaylard is optimistic.
Ms Gaylard, from Mullumbimby, where the vaccination rate is just 47%, said the problem extended to south-east Queensland.
"The more councils get on board the bigger the impact," she said.