Pregnant women in Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire are going to be offered whooping cough vaccinations for their newborn babies. It follows a rise in cases and deaths amongst young infants.
The programme aims to boost the short-term immunity passed on by pregnant women to protect their newborn babies - who normally cannot be vaccinated until they are two months old.
It comes as the latest figures from our region, from the Health Protection Agency, show:
- There were 567 confirmed cases in the Yorkshire and Humber in the first eight months of this year, compared to 35 in 2011 and 26 in 2010.
- In the first eight months of this year 302 cases were reported in infants under 12 weeks of age - more than double the 115 cases reported in the same period in 2011.
- There were nine deaths of young children in the same period - up from seven in the whole of 2011.
- From January to August 2012, 4,791 cases in all ages were reported - three times more than the whole of 2011 which saw 1118 cases.
The vaccine will be offered to pregnant women during routine antenatal appointments with a nurse, midwife or GP.
Even if women have previously been immunised they will be encouraged to be vaccinated again to boost their immunity, as it helps protect their babies before they can start their own immunisations.