Cases of whooping cough have seen a national increase, with 1,319 confirmed cases in March alone and five infant deaths in England between January and March 2024.

It is now more important than ever for pregnant women to get vaccinated to protect their children from this dangerous illness.

Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, can be a serious disease, potentially resulting in hospitalisation or even death. Babies are most at risk of severe illness. However, mothers vaccinated during pregnancy can help protect babies who are too young to be vaccinated themselves.

Pregnant mothers can get this free vaccine at their GP surgery. Only one dose of the vaccine is required but it is important to be vaccinated once per pregnancy. The protection a mother gets from the vaccine passes to their baby, protecting them until they are old enough to be vaccinated themselves (from eight weeks old).

The whooping cough vaccine has been shown to be safe for both mothers and their babies. However, if anyone has any concerns about this vaccination, it is best to talk to your midwife or GP.

Liann Brookes-Smith, Sandwell’s Interim Director of Public Health, said: “Amidst this worrying rise in whooping cough cases, I urge all pregnant mothers to protect their children by getting vaccinated. Whooping cough is preventable in most cases and the vaccine will increase a child’s immunity to this serious disease.

“The best time to get vaccinated is between 16 and 32 weeks of pregnancy, but if mothers miss this date, they can still get it later in their pregnancy – although the sooner, the better.”

For more information, search “NHS whooping cough vaccine” online. If you are pregnant, contact your GP to book your vaccine appointment today.

Published: Friday, 10th May 2024