An infectious diseases epidemiologist says it’s important for expectant mothers to be immunised against whooping cough so the baby is born with protection.

A study published in 2019 looked at immunisation rates among pregnant women in Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory and found low influenza vaccination rates for pregnant women and low whooping cough vaccinations among young and First Nations mothers.

It looked at immunisation rates among 600,000 pregnant women between 2012 and 2017 and found only 15 per cent were immunised for influenza and only 27 per cent were vaccinated against whooping cough.

Dr Lisa McHugh from the University of Queensland, says whooping cough is very serious.

She says there is evidence that vaccines are safe during pregnancy and health professionals need to have conversations about the vaccines with expectant mothers.