Free pertussis booster axed in NSW

Instead, expectant mums are being encouraged to pay for a vaccination before their child is born.

It follows findings from the National Centre for Immunisation Research that showed vaccinating mothers before the birth of the child reduced the risk of whooping cough by half.

Dr Vicky Sheppeard, NSW Health Director of Communicable Diseases, said expectant mothers should receive the preventive treatment before they gave birth.

"A lot of parents don't get vaccinated until a few weeks after birth, which is too late to protect the most vulnerable, very young babies," Dr Sheppeard said.

The third trimester of pregnancy was the ideal time for vaccination, she said.

Dr Sheppeard said women could purchase the pertussis vaccine on prescription from their obstetrician or GP.

It marks the end of a four-year strategy, during which one million free vaccines were administered to new mothers in response to a NSW whooping cough