The anti-vaxxer movement is being blamed for an outbreak of whooping cough on the North Coast, which has so far affected 21 people in the past four weeks.
Whooping cough (also known as pertussis) is a serious respiratory infection that causes a long coughing illness.
In babies, the infection can sometimes lead to pneumonia and occasionally, brain damage. Three babies have died from whooping cough in the last six years – and all were unvaccinated.
As of March 14, there have been 149 confirmed cases of babies struck down with whooping cough in NSW.
State Labor has accused the Berejiklian Government of being ‘all talk and no action’ on fighting the anti-vaccinations movement.
Shadow Health Minister Walt Secord said he was extremely disappointed by the on-going failure of the government.
“We just had the worst flu season on record and it is not even winter yet, but we are starting to get worrying reports about whooping cough in regional NSW,” Mr Secord said.
‘Make no mistake, these outbreaks are due entirely to State and Federal governments allowing the nutcases in the anti-vaxxer movement to spout their lies,’ Mr Secord said.
‘Vaccination rates on the State’s north coast have dropped to dangerous levels.
‘I am angry that we are seeing outbreaks of diseases like whooping cough on the North Coast with increasing regularity.
‘What is most frustrating is that there are vaccinations available to prevent these illnesses and parents are not using them.
‘It is time State and Federal Government’s said `enough is enough’ to the anti-vaxxer movement.
‘No one has a right to risk infecting their own child or anyone else’s child.
‘It is incredible that we see North Coast parents refusing to vaccinate their kids, yet in Africa and on the Indian sub-continent mums line up for hours in the heat to vaccinate and protect their children.
‘The Berejiklian Government must step up its efforts to increase the number of vaccinations in NSW.
‘Despite his talking tough on the anti-vaccination movement, Health Minister Brad Hazzard has failed and the vaccination message has not gotten through to the community.
‘The worst part is that whooping cough is entirely preventable.
‘Vaccination is a 20th century public health achievement. It saves lives. Sadly, large scale vaccinations have allowed a small fringe to become complacent about the welfare of our nation’s children – especially in regard to measles, whooping cough, mumps and other deadly diseases.
‘While the NSW and Federal governments have taken some steps in relation to this issue, there is still more work to be done.
‘It is heartbreaking to see that immunisation rates in some parts of the state – such as the North Coast and Sydney’s northern beaches and Sydney’s east – have slipped to the levels of the developing world.’