Pregnant women in Northern Ireland offered whooping cough vaccination

3 October 2012

Pregnant women in a part of Northern Ireland are to be offered a vaccination to treat a whooping cough, following a huge rise in the condition recently.

There were 15 cases of the illness, also known as Pertussis, recorded in Northern Ireland in 2011. However, this number has jumped to 192 incidents so far this year.

On top of this, the Public Health Authority (PHA) revealed that cases of whopping cough among infants had reached its highest number in a decade this year.

With both of these statistics in mind, women based in Derry who are at least 28 weeks into their pregnancy can receive a vaccination to tend to the illness.

A spokesperson from the PHA commented: "If the vaccine is given less than two weeks before giving birth, antibodies may not have time to develop and be passed to the baby in sufficient quantities. However it will still help protect the mother and reduce the risk of her infecting her baby.

"Babies still need to be vaccinated as normal starting at two months old."

Furthermore, the booster vaccination, known as Repevax, can also protect the body against diphtheria, tetanus and polio.

Posted by Philip Briggs

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