Published Monday 9 June 2014 at 10:47
Pregnant women in Blackburn with Darwen are being urged to get a vaccination that will protect their new-born babies against whooping cough.
The vaccine is for all mums-to-be between 28 and 38 weeks of their pregnancy. It is designed to boost the short term immunity passed on by women to their babies while they are still in the womb. This helps to protect new-borns who cannot develop their own immunity to whooping cough until two months of age when they receive their first vaccination.
Whooping cough (pertussis) is a serious disease that can lead to pneumonia or permanent brain damage. Deaths are rare but three pertussis-related infant deaths in London recently have brought into sharp focus the importance of increasing protection.
So far in 2014 there have been two confirmed case of whooping cough in Blackburn with Darwen and two other reported cases. Across Cumbria and Lancashire there have been17 confirmed cases and a further 22 reported.
In Blackburn with Darwen an average of 56% of eligible women had the vaccine between January and March this year. Across Lancashire that figure was around 53%.
Mums-to-be are advised to contact their GP or midwife for further information on how to get vaccinated. Women who are more than 38 weeks’ pregnant should also speak to their GP or midwife about the vaccine.
Dr Gifford Kerr, Consultant in Public Health for Blackburn with Darwen Council said:
“This is an important message for pregnant women – they need to take full advantage of these vaccinations to protect their new-borns. It is also important that we continue to remind all parents to ensure their babies are vaccinated against whooping cough as part of the childhood vaccination programme to continue their protection. If people have any concerns or are unsure what to do they should speak to their GP.”