Health professionals from NHS England are urging pregnant women in Bristol, North Somerset, Somerset and South Gloucestershire to get vaccinated against whooping cough. This will protect their new baby from birth, by passing on immunity from mother to child.
Young babies are particularly at risk and can’t be vaccinated themselves until two months of age. On average, just over half of Bristol, North Somerset, Somerset and South Gloucestershire pregnant women are vaccinated, but NHS England want the other expectant mothers to protect their babies from whooping cough.
Julie Yates, Bristol, North Somerset, Somerset and South Gloucestershire NHS Screening and Immunisation Lead said: “Whooping cough is serious and can lead to pneumonia, brain damage and even death. You can protect your unborn baby from getting whooping cough in its first weeks after birth by having the whooping cough vaccination while you are pregnant.
“The best time to get vaccinated to protect your baby is from week 28 to week 38 of your pregnancy – between 28 and 32 weeks is best to pass on immunity. Talk to your midwife or GP and make an appointment to get vaccinated.”
To help fight the spread of disease in Bristol, North Somerset, Somerset and South Gloucestershire, parents of children up to five years of age are also being encouraged to ensure their children are vaccinated against a range of serious diseases, like diphtheria, polio and measles, tetanus, meningitis C and rotavirus.
Julie Yates added: “Vaccination is an important step in protecting your child against a range of serious and potentially fatal diseases. Vaccinations are quick, safe and extremely effective. Once your child has been vaccinated against a disease, their body can fight it more effectively.
“You may be concerned that too many vaccines at a young age might “overload” your child’s immune system, but this really isn’t the case. Studies have shown that vaccines don’t weaken a child’s immune system and that children who have been vaccinated have fewer infections.
“It’s never too late to have your child immunised. Even if your child has missed an immunisation and is older than the recommended ages, talk to your doctor, GP practice nurse or health visitor to arrange for your child to be immunised.”
- Find out more about childhood vaccinations