Would you take the Whooping Cough Vaccination? 

Understandably women during pregnancy do not like taking any risk, and will avoid it all costs.  One of those including avoiding medication if possible including paracetamol women would not have thought twice about taking before being pregnant.

Recently, women are now being offered a four-in-one vaccination to protect their unborn child against whopping cough.

You ask, what are the benefits and are there any risks?

Women in the UK are being told “It’s a no brainer – It is something we have to take”.  This has come about from a high increase in whopping cough cases in the UK.  To date, 2012 has seen nine infant deaths as a result of whooping cough.

There have been a much higher number of cases that have left the infant hospitalised, taking many months to recover.  The majority of these cases are from vey young babies that are too young to be vaccinated.

Whooping cough or pertussis is a bacterial infection can lead to pneumonia and a range of complications in babies.

The main sign of whooping cough is a coughing fit following by a ‘whoop sound’ as these babies often struggle to breathe.  Treatment can include spending many weeks on a ventilator.

The jab being offered to pregnant women is given from 28 weeks and evidence suggests it will boost antibodies and allow these to be transferred to the unborn child giving them vital protection in the first few weeks of its life.  The current vaccination is given to babies at 12 weeks and a booster at 16 weeks.

The obvious benefit is providing the unborn child with an additional boost against the virus but are there are down sides to this?

What are the side effects?

Side effects include a bit of redness of the arm, but this is as expected from any injection.  There is however a rare chance that this vaccination can cause a severe allergic reaction which is known as anaphylaxis.  This is known to affect one in a million doses of the vaccine.

The main concern of pregnant women is that this vaccination can cause harm to their baby, and its development.  Vaccination experts claim this is not a danger and should not hesitate to have the vaccination in order to protect their newborn in the early stages of its life.

Until recently there were no vaccinations offered to pregnant women.  Swine flu changed that and now all pregnant women are offered the flu jab.

The whooping cough vaccination is a four-in-one jab meaning that it does not just cover against whooping cough.

Any injection that contains killed (inactivated) viruses during pregnancy are reported to be safe, which the whooping cough vaccination is.  It is those vaccines that contain live viruses which are considered to be dangerous during pregnancy.

The vaccination will be available to all pregnant women from Monday 01 October 2012 and health officials advise there are no health concerns.  Approximately 730,000 will be offered the vaccination this year allowing enough protection until the baby’s first booster at 12 weeks.


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