Healthy living

Parents of Riley Hughes talk about the importance of vaccination (video transcript)


Hello, my name is Greg and I wanted to talk to you about my son Riley, who passed away at four weeks of age from pertussis, or otherwise known as whooping cough.


Riley was a perfectly healthy new born baby, and like most new parents, we were absolutely delighted.


Whooping cough seemed to hit us from nowhere, what started out as a small cough rapidly deteriorated into a devastating disease that saw my son hooked up to multiple lines, tubes and he ultimately ended up having heart failure.


We have obviously learned a lot about whooping cough following on from the death of my son, it’s a particularly nasty disease amongst the adult population but it’s a completely different disease in newborns and infants.


We watched my son go from a perfectly healthy baby on day one to day five where he was suffering from significant breathing difficulties, he was diagnosed with pneumonia and we ended up having a baby whose heart ended up failing on him as a result of the illness.


We didn’t know it during Cath’s pregnancy but you can and should get the whooping cough vaccine during each pregnancy. This vaccine provides protection to the newborn baby through anti-bodies which pass through during the pregnancy and provides that extra layer of protection until the child can receive their first whooping cough vaccine.


I would encourage any pregnant mother out there to get the third trimester booster. The evidence is there, it’s safe and it works, this has been shown in the US and the UK. I can’t stress that fact enough, this is a safe vaccine.


Watching Riley suffer from the disease that ultimately took his life is something that will remain with me forever.


I urge all parents to be, please go out and get the vaccine. It’s free and available on the program provided by WA Health. If you have any concerns see your SP, I can’t stress this enough, not only are you providing protection to your family but you’re protecting your community as a whole.

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