Newham mums-to-be urged to get whooping cough jab
Mums-to-be across Newham can protect their children against the highly contagious whooping cough with a vaccine.
The number of cases of whooping cough is increasing with more than 4,400 confirmed cases in England and Wales this year (compared with less than 500 in 2010).
This year there have been nine deaths of babies who were too young to have had the vaccine as part of the routine childhood immunisation programme, which starts at two months.
Whooping cough is a bacterial infection of the lungs that can be very serious in babies leading to complications such as brain damage, pneumonia and even death.
Health bosses in Newham are encouraging mums-to-be to protect their new born babies by getting the vaccine in the last three months of their pregnancy. Pregnant women who have the vaccine will pass protection to their babies against whooping cough that last for the first weeks of their life, until they are old enough to be vaccinated themselves.
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Rachel Flowers, joint director of public health for Newham for NHS North East London and the City, said: “If you are pregnant ask your GP, practice nurse, midwife or pharmacist about how you can get the whooping cough vaccine.”
“Vaccination is one of the safest ways to prevent infectious disease. The vaccine is safe for both mother and unborn child. It is much safer to have the vaccine than to risk your newborn baby catching whooping cough.
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“Vaccinating pregnant women in the last trimester helps to protect their babies against whooping cough for the first few weeks of their lives but it is vitally important that babies still have the full routine childhood immunisation programme starting at two months.”
The vaccine will be made available through GP practices in Newham.