Posted: Tue 23rd Jan 2024

Whooping Cough vaccination urged as cases rise rapidly in Wales

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Jan 23rd, 2024

Public health experts in Wales are encouraging all pregnant women and parents of babies and young children to ensure that they have had their Whooping Cough (Pertussis) vaccinations as cases in Wales show rapid increase in recent weeks.

Whooping cough is an infection of the lungs and breathing tubes caused by Bordetella pertussis bacteria. It spreads very easily and can sometimes cause serious problems, especially in infants under one year of age.

Whooping cough has waves of increased infection every 3-4 years and in the last few weeks, notifications of whooping cough have risen sharply. Following reduced circulation in 2020-2022, current notifications are at levels not seen since 2012 and 2015.

Laboratory confirmed cases have not yet risen in line with notifications but are likely to increase as test results are reported.

Whooping cough is a vaccine preventable disease. The pertussis vaccine is included in the ‘6-in-1 vaccine’ given to babies at eight,  12 and 16 weeks.

In 2013 a vaccination programme was also established to offer the pertussis vaccination to all expectant mothers in the UK from weeks 16 – 32 of pregnancy.

This is to help protect their newborn infants from whooping cough until they are old enough to receive first their ‘6 in 1’ vaccine at aged 8 weeks.

As immunity against pertussis wanes over time, a booster dose is also given in the pre-school boosters (normally given at 3 years 4 months) with the aim of reducing whooping cough in older age groups being passed on to unvaccinated or partially vaccinated babies.

Rates of 6 in 1 vaccination in Wales remain high, but in the last year rates of vaccination in pregnancy have fallen from over 80% to 70%.

Dr Christopher Johnson, Consultant Epidemiologist and Head of Public Health Wales’ Vaccine Preventable Disease Programme explains, “We typically see high rates of whooping cough peaking every three to four years, and with rates supressed during the lock downs of the pandemic we are naturally seeing a resurgence this year.

“Whooping cough is highly contagious and is spread by breathing in small droplets in the air from other people’s coughs and sneezes. Babies under six months old are at most risk. It can be very serious and lead to pneumonia and permanent brain damage. Young babies with whooping cough are at risk of dying from the disease.

“The protection you receive from the pertussis vaccine in pregnancy passes on to your unborn baby and protects the baby in the first few weeks of their life, until they receive their first routine immunisation when they are two months old. The vaccine also protects you from getting whooping cough and lowers the risk of you passing it on to your baby.

“We would urge all pregnant women and parents of babies and young children to ensure they take up their offer of vaccination when given, or to ask their GP, mid wife or health visitor if they believe they may not have had it.”

For more information on pertussis vaccine in pregnancy; Whooping cough (pertussis) vaccine in pregnancy: How to protect your baby against whooping cough – Public Health Wales (nhs.wales)

Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com
Latest News

  • Fresh bid to turn a chapel in Buckley into eight new homes
  • Deeside based Iceland launches first ever supermarket customer election manifesto
  • Wrexham to host to second stage of Tour of Britain Women

  • More...

    Fresh bid to turn a chapel in Buckley into eight new homes

    News

    Deeside based Iceland launches first ever supermarket customer election manifesto

    News

    Wrexham to host to second stage of Tour of Britain Women

    News

    Young woman and child victims in Mold street robbery, police appeal for witnesses

    News

    Mold: Plans to turn former Boots store into bar given the green light

    News

    North East Wales Archives launch new digital content

    News

    Met Office issues weather warning for North Wales

    News

    RSPCA launches ‘For Every Kind’ campaign in Wales to ‘rethink animals’ in 200th year

    News

    Deeside based POP UP Products welcomes new management coordinator

    News