Vaccine to help protect babies
MUMS-to-be will be offered whooping cough vaccinations to protect their newborn babies following a rise in cases and deaths among babies.
Chief Medical Officer for Wales Dr Ruth Hussey has revealed the step will get under way from October.
The aim of the programme is to boost the short-term immunity passed on by pregnant women to protect their newborn babies — they normally can't be vaccinated until they are two months old.
The decision was taken as the latest England and Wales figures, released by the Health Protection Agency, show a large increase in cases in young infants.
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Figures show in the first eight months of the year, 302 cases were reported in infants under 12 weeks of age — more than double the 115 cases reported in the same period in 2011.
From January to August 2012, there were 4,791 cases in all ages reported — three times more than the whole of 2011 which saw 1,118 cases.
Dr Hussey said: "Whooping cough can be treated successfully with antibiotics and most people make a full recovery, but it is highly contagious. "Newborn babies are affected most severely by whooping cough, and are most at risk of developing complications."
She said that nine youngsters in England had died due to whooping cough this year but there have been no infant deaths so far.