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The whooping cough vaccine

There has recently been a significant rise in the number of children getting pertussis (whooping cough). This has been the biggest outbreak of the disease for over two decades, with many children being hospitalised and, tragically, several deaths. Pregnant women are now being offered a whooping cough vaccine during their pregnancy to try to combat the outbreak.

Many women are hesitant about getting vaccines during pregnancy in case of side effects or complications, but with the huge rise in pertussis cases the vast majority of health professionals are recommending it.

Repevax is used as a "booster" for children before starting school and it will also be given to women 28-38 weeks into their pregnancy. It states clearly on the information leaflet that it is not recommended for pregnant women, but the Department of Health say that it is safe.

It is important to protect children from pertussis until they are old enough to be vaccinated, and by immunising the mother during pregnancy the baby is offered some protection during their most vulnerable stage.

There is no single whooping cough vaccine; Repevax helps fight tetanus, diphtheria, polio and whooping cough. Professionals are encouraging women to go for the vaccine and although many women may be hesitant, the NHS are planning to vaccinate around 650,000 women a year.

If you are in the early stages of your pregnancy, you should talk to your doctor to get all the facts about whooping cough and whooping cough immunisation. The rise in cases is worrying but the vaccination represents a way of controlling it.

Pertussis can be serious (or even fatal) and it is important that the rise in cases is brought back down again. The whooping cough vaccine could stem the outbreak and protect your child. Don’t hesitate to talk to your GP if you have any concerns or would like to know more about the vaccine.

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