The ACT struggled through a dramatic rise in whooping cough last year. Figures reveal there were 487 whooping cough cases recorded in the ACT last year, more than double the 233 cases recorded the previous year. There have 26 cases of the disease, which is also known as pertussis, recorded in Canberra so far this year, according to data from the federal Department of Health. In the wake of concerns over vaccine shortages in private markets in other states, ACT Health has assured the public there is no shortage of the whooping cough vaccine in either the national immunisation program or the ACT-funded vaccination program for pregnant women in Canberra. More than 3500 free whopping cough vaccinations have been provided to pregnant women in Canberra since the ACT began offering the program in April last year. ACT chief health officer Dr Paul Kelly said vaccination during pregnancy had been shown to be effective in preventing whooping cough in newborns "via the transfer of protection from mother to the unborn child". Dr Kelly said although the number of cases of whooping cough in babies under the age of six months remained stable last year, there had been a rise in cases in other age groups. Outbreaks of the disease happen every three to four years, with Dr Kelly saying the current rise was consistent with "expected" disease trends and what was being seen in other states and territories, including NSW. Health department figures for the past decade show the ACT recorded its highest level of whooping cough cases in 2011, when there 829 notifications of the disease. Dr Kelly said vaccination was the most effective way to avoid whooping cough and it was recommended children receive their first vaccine between six to eight weeks old, followed by doses at four and six months. Children should be given a booster vaccination when they are 3½ to four years old, and again between the ages of 12 and 17. "The Health Protection Service routinely liaises with schools and childcare centres when an enrolled child has been diagnosed with pertussis to advise on appropriate public health measures to prevent further spread of the disease and raise awareness," Dr Kelly said. Shingles cases in Canberra also spiked last year, with 196 cases recorded, up from 92 in 2014, and 52 in 2012 and 2013, according to figures for other vaccine preventable diseases. Chickenpox cases roses only marginally last year, increasing from 63 cases in 2014 to 65 last year. The ACT continues to have some of the country's highest childhood immunisation rates, with the territory's vaccinations rates for one, two and five-year-old children beating the national average. About 93 per cent of one and five-year-olds in the ACT are fully vaccinated compared to about 91 per cent of two-year-olds, according to most recent data from the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register. As of January 1 this year, children and young people up to the age of 20 must be fully immunised, on a catch-up schedule or have an approved medical exemption for parents to continue receiving the childcare benefit, childcare rebate or the Family Tax Benefit part A supplement.