Did you know Whooping Cough can be fatal?

Born perfectly healthy, Dana Elizabeth McCaffery died in March at 4 weeks of age from Pertussis (Whooping cough). Sadly, she is one of eight babies that has died from this totally vaccine preventable disease in Australia since 2008.

Between 1993-2006, a further 17 children under 12 months have died from Whooping Cough in Australia.

Born perfectly healthy, our baby Dana became the innocent victim of Whooping Cough due to dangerously low awareness and even lower vaccination rates.

Whooping Cough is notoriously contagious and deceptive, initially starting like a cold. There is no cure and Whooping Cough can kill 1 in 200 babies that catch it. Babies are not born with adequate antibodies to the disease. They are not protected until they are at least four months old and have received two doses of the whooping cough vaccine. They are not fully protected until after their third dose at six months.

In just four short weeks, our beautiful baby girl taught us boundless love and amazing courage. Read the account of Dana's journey. If you cannot access Facebook you can read their story .

Learn more about how you can make a difference

The only way to stop infants dying from Whooping Cough is to prevent them catching it. Adults are a major source of this disease. In 2011, over 38,500 people caught Whooping Cough nationally—with half of them being adults.


Did you know that adults need boosters? The majority of us are not immune to Whooping Cough, with immunity waning as quickly as six years.


You can help protect newborn babies by ensuring everyone around them is up-to-date on their vaccinations—creating a protective cocoon until they are old enough to gain their own immunity.


We all need to work together to:

  • Identify Whooping Cough: Even if you are vaccinated, you could catch Whooping Cough. If you have a persistent cough, particularly at night, please go to yourGP to get tested.
  • Protect babies: Everyone in contact with a baby—children, adolescents and adults—needs an up-to-date booster to protect the baby until they have had at least two doses of the vaccine.
  • Prevent the spread: We ask all GPs to be vigilant and test patients for Whooping Cough. The quicker someone is diagnosed and treated, the less people they can infect. It is also vital that babies are diagnosed as early as possible—it starts like a cold and many small babies do not cough.

After Dana’s death, Toni and David have worked with many health authorities to raise awareness of whooping cough. Please go to the following sites for further information on whooping cough.


NSW Health 
The Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing 

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We all need to work together to protect our most vulnerable.

Yours in Community

Toni, David, James, Aisling and Sarah McCaffery
In memory of our sweet Dana.

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