Whooping cough (pertussis) is a respiratory infection that develops into severe coughing fits. This illness can be very severe, especially in very young babies, and it can lead to hospitalisation and even death. The number of cases of whooping cough in the UK has risen among babies who are too young to have had their vaccinations. Because of this, the Department of Health has developed a vaccine for pregnant women to protect their babies against this illness until the babies can be immunised themselves.
You will be offered a whooping cough vaccination between 16 and 32 weeks of pregnancy to boost your levels of antibodies. These antibodies will then be passed on to your baby for protection until they get their first vaccinations at two months old.
Comprehensive research into the vaccine has shown that it’s very safe, with no ill-effects for pregnant women or their babies.
- Public Health England (2014) Vaccination against pertussis (Whooping cough) for pregnant women- 2014 Information for healthcare professionals https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/vaccination-against-pertussis...
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ℹLast reviewed on April 1st, 2014. Next review date April 1st, 2017.