THE mother of a four-week-old boy who died from whooping cough has been forced to defend herself to anti-vax campaigners online.
Less than a week after Catherine Hughes' son Riley died from pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, the Perth mum has been criticised for believing in vaccines that don't work anyway..
Little Riley John Hughes died from whooping cough on Tuesday last week in Princess Margaret Hospital, Perth.
Riley was too young to have started the vaccination program designed to protect him from the disease - Western Australia's immunisation programs start at eight weeks old, NSW starts from six.
Mrs Hughes posted her feelings on the topic in response to a column in the Sunday Telegraph by Claire Harvey.
She penned the column criticising anti-vaccinators for endangering the lives of children.
"Would you kill a baby today? Would you put him through horrific pain?
Would you take away his oxygen and let him suffocate to death?
"Well, if you haven't vaccinated your own children, you are doing all those things.
"You killed four-week-old Riley Hughes.
"You killed the twelve babies who have died of whooping cough in the past six years.
"You are responsible. And you have no excuse."
Harvey's column had received 900 comments, one of them was from Mrs Hughes.
"Thank you for questioning me," she posted.
"I was fortunate to breastfeed my daughter for two years and my son Riley for the four weeks of his little life until he had to use a feeding tube in hospital, where I then expressed milk.
"I was also vaccinated as a child and received the booster shot three years before his birth, and was told my medical professionals this was sufficient.
- Riley's Mum.
The post comes after The Daily revealed nearly half of Sunshine Coast students don't bother getting free school-based vaccinations for deadly illnesses like whooping cough, cervical cancer and tetanus.
Despite the abuse from anti-vaccinator supporters, the Hughes family have vowed to push for change, saying they don't want their son's death to be "in vain" and want to "be the drivers of change" surrounding the treatment and management of whooping cough.