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Bradford mothers urged to protect babies against whooping cough
Health professionals in Bradford and Airedale are urging mothers to protect their newborn babies against the whooping cough as cases continue to rise nationally.
The Department of Health has set up the temporary vaccination programme because of a large rise in cases which can cause severe illness in babies and young children.
The vaccination drive aims to boost the immunity passed on by pregnant women to their newborn babies who normally cannot be vaccinated until they are two-months-old.
NHS Airedale, Bradford and Leeds started a vaccination campaign on October 1 to give women the chance the protect their children against the highly contagious infection.
All pregnant women who have reached at least 28 weeks of pregnancy, and mothers of newborn babies who have never previously been immunised with a whooping cough vaccination, have been offered the jab.
Since the start of the campaign 383 pregnant women in the district have been vaccinated against whooping cough. However, with 4,833 pregnant women in the district at the moment, more mums-to-be are being urged to come forward and speak to their GP or midwife to find out more and take up the offer.
Dr Shirley Brierley, public health consultant at NHS Airedale, Bradford and Leeds, said: “Over the last year we have seen a large rise in the number of whooping cough cases across the country with the most serious cases being in children too young to be protected by routine vaccinations.
“We are pleased to be able to offer local mums the chance to protect their babies against whooping cough. If you are pregnant, getting vaccinated is the best way you can protect your baby against whooping cough.”
From January 1 to September 30 there have been 59 confirmed cases of whooping cough in Bradford and Airedale.
The condition usually begins with a persistent dry and irritating cough that progresses to intense bouts of coughing. These are followed by a distinctive ‘whooping’ noise, which is how the condition gets its name. Other symptoms include a runny nose, raised temperature and vomiting after coughing.
The coughing can last for around three months. Another name for whooping cough is the ‘hundred day cough’.
To find out more whooping cough, visit nhs.uk/conditions/whooping-cough.