Pregnancy whooping cough vaccine offered in Jersey

Baby being vaccinated
Image caption Dr Ivan Muscat said immunity was passed from mother to baby before birth

Jersey's health authorities are advising pregnant women to protect their newborns by getting vaccinated against whooping cough.

The health department is recommending it to pregnant women from 28 weeks.

Whooping cough is a bacterial infection which causes long bouts of coughing and choking, making it hard to breathe.

Dr Ivan Muscat, consultant microbiologist, said the vaccine can protect babies in the first few weeks after they are born.

He said: "The latest evidence shows the infection is still circulating in the UK, and given the close travel links that exist between Jersey and many parts of the UK, we think it is prudent that vaccination should continue to be available.

"The vaccine is safe to have in pregnancy from 28 weeks gestation. It is being used in the UK and has been used in the United States since June 2011 for pregnant women in the third trimester."

Dr Muscat said immunity was passed from mother to baby before birth until the baby was old enough to have their own vaccine at two, three or four months old.

Pregnant women are being advised to contact their family doctor or discuss it with a midwife.

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