Whooping cough vaccination being offered to pregnant women in North Lincolnshire for first time
The whooping cough vaccination is being offered to pregnant women in North Lincolnshire for the first time following a rise in deaths among young infants.
Health officials in North Lincolnshire are urging all pregnant women to protect their unborn babies and have their two vital jabs – whooping cough and the flu vaccine.
They are being offered this jab through their local GPs.
Figures show there has been an increase in the number of whooping cough cases in the UK this year.
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In the Yorkshire and Humber region figures from the Health Protection Agency show that the number of confirmed whooping cough cases has risen from 35 in 2011 to 567 in 2012.
Whooping cough can be very dangerous for young babies and there have been nine deaths in England up to September 1 this year.
Joanna Mitchell, 21, of Garthorpe, is 30 weeks into her pregnancy and said she decided to have the jabs to protect her baby.
Joanna said: "I had not heard anything about the two jabs until I was admitted into hospital because I thought I had contractions and the doctor told me to get them done.
"I had a think and decided to do it to protect my baby.
"I did everything I could to protect my first baby and wanted to do the same for my second child.
"I am terrified of needles and I was a bit daunted but I will do anything I can do to protect my child.
"I think it is a good thing to get the jabs and I would recom- mend any pregnant mother to do it."
A spokeswoman for NHS North Lincolnshire said: "The best way to protect young babies is to offer whooping cough vaccinations to mums in the last third of their pregnancy.
"This allows antibodies to be passed from the mother to the baby protecting the baby until the age of eight weeks, when he or she can receive vaccinations in their own right."
The flu vaccine is also being offered at Scunthorpe General Hospital.
Anna Middlemiss, public consultant with NHS North Lincolnshire, said: "I have had flu vaccines during my last two pregnancies which have protected myself and my baby from the harmful effects of flu.
"As a health professional, I would urge all pregnant women to do the same."
As well as pregnant women, everyone over the age of 65 and anyone between six months and 65 years who suffers from conditions that could be made worse by contracting flu will be provided with a free flu jab by their GP.