FREE whooping cough vaccinations for parents and carers of newborns won't be available after June 30 this year.
Health Minister David Davis confirmed in a Parliamentary Accounts and Estimates Committee hearing today that the vaccine for parents wouldn't be available due to funding cuts.
The vaccine had been on offer since 2009 to help protect newborns from the disease.
Up to May this year, there have been 1655 notifications made to the Department of Health of whooping cough cases.
Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, can cause minor cold-like symptoms for adults but is fatal for about one in 200 babies infected.
In February last year, a 14-day-old Bendigo baby made national headlines after he died from whooping cough. At the time, his death was the first in Victoria since 2004.
Later that month a mother-of-three from Eaglehawk told of her shock at being diagnosed with whooping cough at the age of 41, saying she was unaware her childhood whooping cough immunisation would wear off.
Shadow Minister for Health Gavin Jennings said the government's decision was a risky one.
“Whooping cough is still a significant public health issue in our community, and the Baillieu Government has now removed this added protection for newborns against the serious illness," he said.
“Without knowing it, parents and carers often pass whooping cough on to very young babies who are not immune to the illness until after their third immunisation at six months old.
“If it was good enough for the Baillieu Government to extend the vaccine program to protect newborns last year, why isn’t it good enough to continue funding it now?"