The parents of babies Riley Hughes and Dana McCaffery, who both died of whooping cough, are part of a government campaign to boost immunisation rates.
“Our baby Dana died of whooping cough. She was only one month old and too young to be vaccinated,” Toni McCaffery says say in the new Get the Facts campaign.
“We live in an area with low immunisation rates,” David McCaffery adds.
The Hughes family also share the heart-breaking story of losing their baby to whooping cough at four weeks of age.
“Our baby son died from a vaccine-preventable disease. Nothing can bring him back,” Greg Hughes says.
“But together we can all help to prevent this tragedy to happening from other families,” Catherine Hughes says
The federal government is spending $5.5 million on the campaign, which is aimed at encouraging parents to vaccinate their children.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said that while more than 93 per cent of five-year-olds are fully vaccinated, immunisation rates in some parts of Australia remain low.
The campaign, launched at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital today, will target parents in these areas through child care centres and social media.
Immunologist Ian Frazer said vaccinating a child protects not just them but the wider community.
“We still see cases of disease outbreaks, particularly in areas of low immunisation coverage, so it’s important immunisation rates are as high as possible,” he said in a statement.
“A parent will never know when their child may come into contact with someone who has got one of these infections.”
A Get the Facts website has also been launched.