Senator Kemp Hannon
6th District New York
New Hannon Law Will Protect Newborns from the Resurgence of Whooping Cough



In an effort to stem the national whooping cough epidemic, hospitals across New York State will offer the Bordetella pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine to all parents and caregivers of newborns beginning this year.


Bordetella pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious bacterial disease.  Newborns are at increased risk of serious illness or death should they contract this disease.  The new law, which takes effect on January 18, 2013, requires general hospitals which have a newborn nursery or provide obstetric services to offer patients and other anticipated caregivers a vaccination against whooping cough.


Due to the high risk, every precaution should be taken to ensure the safety of newborns.  By requiring vaccinations be offered to parents and anticipated caregivers, New York is taking the lead in ensuring these vulnerable babies are protected from this potentially fatal malady.


Experts believe whooping cough occurs in cycles and peaks every three to five years.  The current epidemic rate has been linked to the effectiveness of the vaccine, which was modified in the late 1990s following concerns about rashes, fevers, and other side effects.  The incidences of pertussis in the United States, and New York, have recently increased.


According to the Centers for Disease Control, New York currently ranks third in the number of reported cases nationally. Statewide, 1,288 cases have been reported three times the number from 2011.  There have been 187 cases in New York City and 333 on Long Island, and a whooping cough outbreak occurred just earlier this past year in Northport and Setauket.


While it is not advisable to vaccinate newborns, research demonstrates that up to 80% of newborns caught pertussis from family members.  By offering the immunization to parents and caregivers, this legislation will allow parents to be informed and to take responsible action.  The new law not only will help New York avoid whooping cough in the general population, it is expected to reduce healthcare costs by avoiding costly treatment of pertussis in newborns.

District Office
595 Stewart Avenue, Suite 540
Garden City, NY 11530
Albany Office
420 State Capitol Bldg.
Albany, NY 12247