Whooping cough jab for mums-to-be
Published 11/12/2012 | 05:00
GPs will offer pregnant women the whooping cough vaccine as cases of the disease continue to rise.
So far this year, 444 children have been diagnosed with whooping cough, more than double the same period last year.
Women who have not had a whooping cough jab in the last 10 years should be offered the low-dose vaccine between 28-32 weeks of pregnancy.
The Tdap vaccine is a low dose three- in-one jab which protects against whooping cough, tetanus and diphtheria.
Close-family adult contacts of babies born before 32 weeks should also be offered the vaccine as well as siblings.
Getting vaccinated while pregnant may help a woman to protect her baby from developing whooping cough in his or her first few weeks of life.
The immunity from the vaccine will pass to the baby through the placenta.
Young babies are most at risk of severe disease and hospitalisation and 32pc of notified cases have been in babies less than 6 months of age.
Women are also advised to have the flu jab as earlier as possible in the pregnancy and they can have both safely.