You may have seen in recent media coverage that there has been a considerable increase in whooping cough diagnosis in the UK starting in mid-2011. The current national outbreak is the largest seen in the UK for over a decade. The greatest numbers of cases are in adolescents and young adults but the highest rates are in infants less than three months of age.
With this in mind, a programme has been implemented to ensure pregnant women have the opportunity to receive the vaccine. The purpose of the programme is to boost antibodies in the vaccinated women in late pregnancy, so that pertussis (whooping cough) specific antibodies are passed from the mother to her baby. This aims to protect the infant before routine immunisation can be started at eight weeks of age. It has been recommended that all pregnant women should be offered the vaccination at between 28 to 38 weeks of pregnancy inclusive. In addition, it is recommended the vaccination be given to anyone over 38 weeks of pregnancy up until labour begins.
New mothers who have never had the pertussis vaccine should also be vaccinated, up until their baby receives their first course of vaccinations at 8 weeks.
It is also recommended that all pregnant women receive a seasonal flu vaccination, which can be given at the same time as the pertussis.
If you fall in any of the categories above, please contact the surgery to arrange an appointment with the practice nurse for both the pertussis and seasonal flu vaccine as soon as possible.