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Call for more women to get whooping cough vaccine
MORE than a quarter of pregnant women in Hampshire have not had a vaccine that could protect new-born children from a potentially deadly bacterial infection.
Government figures show that 31.5 per cent of expectant mothers did not receive a dose of whooping cough vaccine Repevax.
Professor David Salisbury, the Department of Health’s director of immunisation, urged pregnant women to ensure they are vaccinated.
“Whooping cough is highly contagious and infants are particularly vulnerable,” he said.
“In England, 14 infants died as a result of whooping cough in 2012, and there were 429 cases of the disease in children three months old.
“It’s vital that babies are protected from the day they are born – that’s why we are encouraging all pregnant women to be vaccinated.”
According to newly-published figures, 856 women were due to gave birth in December 2012 in Hampshire.
Records show that 586 women had received Repevax after 28 weeks pregnancy.
The vaccine protects mother, and the unborn child, against diphtheria, tetanus, polio and whooping cough.
Last year saw the largest rise in whooping cough deaths in more than a decade, prompting the NHS to launch a nationwide campaign to vaccinate women who are between 28 and 38 weeks pregnant.
New-borns are most vulnerable as they are too young to be vaccinated as doses are given at two, three and four months of age.