The vaccine from pregnant mothers will be administered through routine antenatal appointments with nurses, midwives or GPs.
The £10 million programme, which has been set up on a temporary basis, has been endorsed by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation and a number of royal colleges.
– Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at the Health Protection Agency
We welcome the urgent measure from the Department of Health to minimise the harm from whooping cough, particularly in young infants, and we encourage all pregnant women to ensure they receive the vaccination to give their baby the best protection against whooping cough.
It's also important we continue to remind all parents to ensure their children are vaccinated against whooping cough to continue their protection through childhood.
– Dr David Elliman, immunisation specialist of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
This (vaccine) will mean that the mothers are less likely to catch the disease themselves and so won't pass it on to their new born babies. In addition, they will pass on some immunity to their babies until they themselves are immunised.
At the same time, it is important to ensure that all children receive a full course of the vaccine and that this is not delayed. The vaccine is very safe with no more side effects or contraindications than the other routine childhood vaccines.