DOH Introduces Vaccination for Pregnant Women to Combat Pertussis

DOH Introduces Vaccination for Pregnant Women to Combat PertussisAnother infant has been reported to have died due to whooping cough. With this new case, the number of deaths in case of babies below the age of three months has risen to 10 this year.

Statistical reports put forth by Health Protection Agency (HPA) claim that a total of 1,332 cases of whooping cough were recorded in England and Wales during the month of September.

The overall total reported this year accounts for 6,121, which is almost five times more than the figures recoded for the year 2011 and nearly seven times more than that of 2008.

During September, government declared that free vaccinations to guard against whooping cough would be provided to pregnant women, which will also protect the unborn baby. Conventionally, babies less than two months cannot be vaccinates against pertussis. The £10m program, aiming at vaccination of pregnant women, commenced on 1 October 2012.

Rough estimates suggest that nearly 650,000 women who are between 28 and 38 weeks pregnant are covered in such immunization programs each year. Dr. Mary Ramsay, Head of immunization at the HPA, said, "We have been very concerned about the continuing increase in whooping cough cases and related deaths and welcome the action taken by the Department of Health to introduce vaccination for pregnant women".