Whooping cough vaccination appeal

By on 03/12/2012 in Cllr Bedser, News

Pregnant women in Birmingham are being urged to take up the offer of a whooping cough vaccination after a sharp increase in the number of cases across the West Midlands.

A new vaccination programme was launched in September to boost the immunity passed on by pregnant women to protect their newborn babies.

That came as West Midlands figures for the first nine months of 2012 showed 435 confirmed cases of whooping cough, compared to just 33 in 2011 - and just 10 in 2010.

Nationally cases are higher than at any point in the last twenty years and the Health Protection Agency figures show 13 babies have died from the disease in the first 10 months of the year.

Birmingham City Council Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, Cllr Steve Bedser, said: “Whooping cough is a highly contagious disease and infants are particularly vulnerable. It really is vital that babies are protected from the day they are born – so we would strongly recommend all pregnant women take up the offer of vaccination.

“Protection throughout childhood is vital and parents must ensure their children are vaccinated against whooping cough, even babies of women who've had the vaccine in pregnancy.”

Dr Adrian Phillips, Director of Public Health for Birmingham added: “Vaccination is vital but also parents should be alert to the signs and symptoms of whooping cough. The condition usually begins with a persistent dry and irritating cough that progresses to intense bouts of coughing. This is followed by a distinctive ‘whooping’ noise, which is how the condition gets its name.”

  • The vaccine is now offered to women who are between 28 and 38 weeks pregnant.
  • Expectant mums will be offered vaccination via their GP practice
  • All pregnant women – even women who have previously been immunised against whooping cough – are encouraged to be vaccinated again to boost their immunity levels.

ENDS

More details about whooping cough, including symptoms and vaccination advise: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/Pages/whooping-cough-vaccination-pregnant.aspx

For more information contact Geoff Coleman on 0121 303 3501

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