The recent outbreak of whooping cough has New Brunswick pharmacists asking the province for the right to administer the vaccine for pertussis.

Alistair Bursey, president of the New Brunswick Pharmacists Association, said people in the province need more access to the vaccine.

"We believe that obviously [with] doctors' hours, it can be hard to get in sometimes. With family physicians it's difficult to access them. That's if you have a family physician. There are a lot of New Brunswickers who don't," Bursey said.

"You have a situation where public health has limited hours. Pharmacies are open weekends, evenings, holidays. And we're accessible throughout 200 immunizers in the province."

More than half of the 2,000 reported cases of whooping cough in Canada this year have been in New Brunswick, he said.

An average 151 whooping cough cases have been reported monthly this year in New Brunswick.

Whooping cough can affect people of any age, but is most severe among young infants. Many adults develop the infection and pass it along to children, so health officials are recommending that adults in regular contact with children be vaccinated.

"We want the government to allow pharmacists to give this vaccine. We are the most accessible, convenient, and efficient system for giving this out," Bursey said.

Currently New Brunswickers have to visit their doctor, or local public health office, to get the whooping cough vaccine.