0:00 I had a beautiful pregnancy with Dana.
00:03 She was our, um, our third child so we were already blessed with two beautiful children and you know, we decided to take that leap and have a third.
00:14 She was born perfect.
00:15 Born perfectly healthy.
00:17 Um, she was a beautiful, very round, seven pound three.
00:22 We were just blissfully ignorant to, that there was a dangerous disease around us, for us we were just a family that bought home our third child and um, the joy that we had with her we just wanted to share that joy with other people.
00:40 There’s nothing more precious than holding a newborn baby.
00:44 Just like everyone else, we were blissfully unaware of the issues related to Dana’s death.
00:49 I first noticed that um, something wasn’t quite right when Dana was about eleven days old.
She started to have a blocked nose.
About a week later where the cold hadn’t cleared up and she started to become more unsettled each night.
I went to the GP to say you know, this isn’t clearing up and they said “Look we’ll send her for a test for pertussis, which is whooping cough, because there’s a bit around”, and that was the first time I’d heard…
01:21 Very first time that we heard of whooping cough. Anybody mention anything about whooping cough.
01:25 For us it’s a disease that past, that’s what we thought.
01:28 It was one of those ones that was conquered by vaccines but it’s made a terrible comeback.
01:33 A bit in shock saying “go straight to the hospital, Dana’s tested positive for whooping cough”.
01:39 We walked um, straight into the hospital room, as we walked into that room Dana had her first coughing fit and she coughed violently, where she coughed and coughed and coughed and coughed and coughed and coughed and coughed, like that for up to about two minutes and she coughed until she went blue and stopped breathing, and she passed out in our arms.
02:02 And the nurse calmly took her from us and put oxygen on her face and said, “yep, classic whooping cough”. And then she progressed to cough like that and have a coughing fit nearly every two to five minutes, all night.
02:19 And there were two nurses by her side and all we could do every time she had a coughing fit was wait til she passed out and stopped breathing, and put oxygen on her.
02:31 Then she, they had to put her in an oxygen head box. So that meant that she was in a Perspex box and she was having oxygen. So the…
02:42 I think that was the first time she smiled, and it melted your heart.
02:49 We’re also very confused because we didn’t know where she caught it.
02:54 We went and got our other kids tested, they didn’t have it, we didn’t have it.
02:59 We also found out that the area in which we lived had very low vaccination rates and we actually had about….
03:07 The neighbouring area has the lowest in the country.
03:09 They made the decision to airlift us to the paediatric intensive care unit, Cos her heart had to pump blood through very um, hardened lungs, her heart was becoming under pressure and the toxins were starting to attack her blood and make it thicker.
And as I walked into the room suddenly the blood pressure, the alarm on the blood pressure machine went off.
And all the alarms went off and her blood pressure dropped dangerously low and I was, suddenly the social worker was there and I was dragged into a room and I was told that um, Dana had developed rapid invasive pertussis so the toxins had attacked her organs.
And that she had, it was very likely that she would die.
And then I heard David scream, and everyone came from everywhere, and suddenly Dana had gone into cardiac arrest.
And they were all around her doing a countdown from ten minutes.
And we couldn’t get in the room there were that many people there.
And as they counted down they just kept saying to us, “OK now it’s very likely she’s got brain damage” and as the minutes went on they kept telling us the damage that was happening to her.
04:38 Eventually everything stopped.
04:43 The importance of community immunity is that vaccination only works if we all do it, and we all do it on time.
04:50 And what people need to understand is that to maintain your immunity you need to have regular boosters and that means, um, babies, that means young children having their boosters on time, but it also means adults too.
05:06 And what we didn’t realise at the time was that unless your child does get regular boosters then their not immune and so in the case of a childcare centre, while a child might have completed their vaccinations as a baby, unless they’ve had their four year old booster they’re unprotected, so they’re at risk of picking up a disease.
05:33 When Dana was born we had the highest rates of disease in the state.05:36 Your baby then is at risk if they catch whooping cough.
05:40 So they rely on the rest of us to be protected….
05:43 …To protect them.
05:45 OK, what I would tell new parents is to vaccinate, to help protect your child and the community.
05:50 It’s so very important to help prevent deadly diseases that can injure and kill, and don’t discriminate by postcodes.