Updated 04 September 2017

'Anti-vax' mom warns about the dangers of skipping whooping cough vaccine

An Australian mother who refused the whooping cough (pertussis) vaccination during pregnancy is warning other moms to reconsider after her newborn daughter almost died from the disease.

An Australian mother who refused to be vaccinated during pregnancy is warning others to reconsider their stance on vaccinations after she passed whooping cough to her unborn child.

Blue in the face

Cormit had always been healthy. During pregnancy, she continued to follow an organic lifestyle, eating well and exercising regularly. She had a normal pregnancy but made the decision not to be vaccinated against whooping cough, also known as pertussis, in her 28th week – a decision she would later regret.

Much to her surprise, during the last two weeks of her pregnancy Cormit developed whooping cough. After giving birth, doctors realised she had passed the illness to her infant daughter, Eva.

Initially, Eva was a bit congested and coughing a bit but after two weeks, her condition worsened.

Eva would cough so much she turned blue in the face and flopped in her mother's hands. On a number of occasions, she stopped breathing for several minutes and had to be rushed to hospital. Eventually Eva was admitted to the intensive care unit.

If Cormit could go back, she would have protected herself and her baby by getting the vaccination:

"She is into week four and every hour I've got to stay here, watch her going blue, give her oxygen, watch her cry, watch her having a hard time eating. She's my only child, my first and if I could turn back time I would've protected myself - so that's my message."

Watch Cormit describe her experience below:

Read more:

Vaccinate pregnant moms to avoid whooping cough in babies

Newborns get whooping cough from siblings

Whooping cough making a comeback

Source: Gold Coast Health Facebook page. 4th April 2016.


Ask the Expert

Cough Expert

Professor Keertan Dheda has received several prestigious awards including the 2014 Oppenheimer Award, and has published over 160 peer-reviewed papers and holds 3 patents related to new TB diagnostic or infection control technologies. He serves on the editorial board of the journals PLoS One, the International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Medicine, Lancet Respiratory Diseases and Nature Scientific Reports, amongst others. Read his full biography at the University of Cape Town Lung Institute.

Still have a question?

Get free advice from our panel of experts

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

* You must accept our condition

Forum Rules