28/09/2012

Pregnant Women To Be Offered Whooping Cough Vaccine

A new whooping cough vaccine is to be offered to pregnant women across the UK, in an effort to protect babies from an escalating outbreak of the disease.

It is known that very young babies are at the greatest risk of serious complications. Ten have died in the UK so far this year.

The injection, available from Monday, should boost a mother's defences, which are then passed onto the baby.

Health officials say there are no safety concerns about the vaccine.

There are surges in whooping cough cases every three to four years and the latest outbreak started at the end of 2011. It is already the worst for more than a decade.

Prof David Salisbury, the director of immunisation at the Department of Health, said: "We're boosting the mother to protect the baby. We can't protect babies until they are eight weeks, but their mothers can."

(H)


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