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Whooping cough

Vaccination in pregnancy

Following a rise in the number of cases of whooping cough in young babies, the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies, has announced that pregnant women will be offered vaccinations to protect their newborn babies. Professor Dame Sally Davies said:

“Whooping cough is highly contagious and newborns are particularly vulnerable.

“9 infants have died as a result of whooping cough this year and there have been 302 cases of the disease in children under 3 months old.

“It’s vital that babies are protected from the day they are born – that’s why we are offering the vaccine to all pregnant women.”

The temporary vaccination programme aims to boost the short-term immunity passed on by pregnant women to their newborn babies who normally cannot be vaccinated themselves until they are 2 months old.


Professor David Salisbury, Director of Immunisation, said:

“Over the last year we have seen a large rise in the number of whooping cough cases with the most serious cases being in children too young to be protected by routine vaccinations.

“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.

“If you are pregnant, getting vaccinated is the best way you can protect your baby against whooping cough.”

Watch David Salisbury explaining more about the programme:

(NB: playing YouTube video sets a cookie.)


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