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Maternal Whooping Cough Vaccination

The whooping cough (pertussis) vaccine is given to pregnant women to help protect their babies against whooping cough from birth during their first weeks of life.

Whooping cough can be a serious, life-threatening disease in young babies, usually requiring hospital treatment.

The latest UK data shows that uptake has dropped to its lowest level in 7 years.

Data for 2022 shows an average uptake across England of 61.5%, a decrease of 3.9% since 2021 and 7.6% from 2020. Coverage in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire is particularly low at 56.2%

The maternal vaccine provides newborn babies with protection against whooping cough which lasts until they are old enough to be routinely vaccinated, with the immunity from the mother passed through the placenta during pregnancy.

It is important that babies continue to be protected against this serious disease, though rates have fallen since 2012. Whooping cough is associated with difficulty breathing, and can lead to pneumonia, permanent brain damage and even death, particularly in infants under six months.

Find out more here.