Chief Medical Officer announces whooping cough vaccination programme for pregnant women

Pregnant women are to be offered whooping cough vaccination in an effort to combat the rise of cases and deaths in newborn babies. Health Protection Agency (HPA) figures for England and Wales show that in the first eight months of this year 302 cases were reported in infants under 12 weeks of age, with nine deaths of young children in the same period. The decision to introduce this temporary programme was taken after the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation – the Government’s independent vaccine experts – reviewed available evidence and advised that the vaccination should be offered to pregnant women between 28 and 38 weeks of pregnancy. The programme will start from 1 October 2012 and will be monitored by the HPA and Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.

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