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Ask Dr. D. Love Your Own Question

Dr. D. Love
Dr. D. Love, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 17542
Experience:  Family Physician for 10 years; Hospital Medical Director for 10 years.
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My wife is due to go to Australia birth of her grandchild.

Customer Question

My wife is due to go to Australia for the birth of her grandchild. There have been some problems with the baby and she is desperate to be there with our daughter. The baby may need immediate surgery for an omphthalocoele (to date there are thankfully no chromosomal abnormalities) but Australia has a warning for a pertussis epidemic and the hospital in Perth will not allow anyone to visit unless they are immune or have had a recent vaccination. Her GP has told her that she is not allowed to administer a vaccination but has taken blood for antibodies. If negative there is nothing she can do. She faces the prospect of not being allowed to see the baby, and I am questioning both the GP's statement and attitude. As a doctor myself I am not aware of any restriction on pertussis vaccination and find this situation both highly distressing and incomprehensible. Our outher grandmother went to her GP who simply gave her a vaccination on the spot. Please can you advise? We are prepared to go privately if necessary, or change our GP to one more accommodating. This matter is now urgent.
Thank you so much,
Sincerely yours,***** BSc., PhD.
Brambles,
Trotts Lane,
Horton,
Ilminster,
TA19 9QX.
07894855
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 11 months ago.
Hello from JustAnswer. There is no medical reason to not provide pertussis vaccination to your wife. One of the recognized indications for provision of the vaccination is when a person is planning to travel to a country or area where pertussis is common. Changing to a different GP may not be effective, because it may be a restriction that has been imposed by the local health authority. Since the situation is urgent, if the blood test does not show immunity, you will probably be able to get the vaccination more quickly if you were to go to a private doctor. Is there any other information that would be helpful?
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 11 months ago.
I have been trying to find information about whether the decision to withhold the vaccine was based on any policy of the NHS, and I have found that there is apparently some difference of opinion in the UK about whether pertussis vaccine should be offered to travelers. See http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/pertussis-whooping-cough-and-travel/. The discussion about overseas travel is about half way down the page. However, other countries do not agree with this approach. Obviously, Australia is recommending vaccination. Vaccination of travelers is also recognized as appropriate in the US. See http://www.webmd.com/vaccines/tdap-vaccine-for-adults, which includes travel to countries where pertussis is common and a reason why adults should be vaccinated. So, the approach of the UK may be why her GP is not able to provide the vaccine, and that would also support that she may be better able to get the vaccine if she were to see a private physician. Is there any other information that would be helpful?
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 11 months ago.
I have been unable to find any other reason that her doctor would be unwilling to provide the vaccine. If you have any further questions, please let me know.

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