Senator Kemp Hannon
6th District New York
Hannon Bill to Require Hospitals to Provide Whooping Cough Vaccine now Law



Newborns are at an extremely high risk of disability or death should they contact whooping cough. In light of the fact that the New York State Health Department has just reported that whooping cough cases in 2012 already exceed the total for all of 2011, it is urgent that newborns be protected by the hospital in which they are being treated.


Whooping Cough (Bordetella pertussis) is highly contagious, and New York is just one of several states that have reported a large increase in the number of reported cases.  According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), whooping cough is cyclical in nature, with higher numbers of incidences occurring every three to five years.


My bill, which the Governor has now signed into law, will require general hospitals with a newborn nursery or providing obstetric services, to offer whooping cough vaccinations to parents and anticipated caregivers of hospitalized newborns.  Since newborns may be exposed to whooping cough after birth, it is important for parents and caregivers to be offered the whooping cough vaccine by the hospital in which the baby is being treated.


New York State last saw rises in whooping cough in 2004 and 2008, and according to the CDC, about 9 out of every 100,000 Americans contracts whooping cough each year.  Even though that number is lower than before the Bordetella pertussis vaccine was introduced, the number of reported cases has been increasing for the past two decades.


Because of the high risk to newborns, every precaution should be taken to ensure their safety.  By requiring that vaccinations be offered to parents and caregivers of newborn children, New York is taking the lead in ensuring these vulnerable babies are protected from this potentially fatal malady.  I am pleased the Governor has signed my bill into law.


Most cases do not result in death, but in 2011, three infants died from the disease in New York.  Whooping cough starts with “cold-like” symptoms such as fever,  sneezing, or a runny nose.  It may then morph into a mild cough which becomes more severe in the first or second week.  Whooping cough vaccine is a five-shot series that is recommended for children at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15 to 18 months, and again at 4 to 6 years of age.


The bill takes effect 180 days from the date of the Governor’s signature.

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