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Wednesday 26th October 2016

Whooping cough jab to be offered to pregnant women

28th September 2012

Pregnant women are to be offered the whooping cough vaccination amid the worst outbreak in this country for two decades.


So far this year there have been almost 5,000 cases and nine babies have died.

As present, babies are given the vaccination when they are eight weeks old, followed by boosters at three and four months.

But now - for the first time – GPs will from Monday offer the vaccine to all women who are between 28 and 38 weeks pregnant in the hope they will pass on protection to the foetus in the womb.

The Department of Health has reassured expectant mother that the vaccination is safe and will not affect their unborn baby or lead to complications.

Director of immunisation Professor David Salisbury said: “We’ve got a situation where there isn’t a choice. We’ve got a real problem and we’ve got babies dying. We have a solution available to us that has a strong safety record.

“The vaccine that we are offering to pregnant women has been recommended by experts and a similar vaccine is already given to pregnant women in the US.”

The immunisation programme will cost the taxpayer around £10million and is only a temporary measure with the plan being to stop vaccinations when cases start to go down.

However, since January, there have been 4,791 cases of whooping cough, three times as many as last year. The last time rates were this high was in 1990 when there were 15,000 cases, and seven babies died.


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