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Public Health England have “urged” pregnant women to have the whooping cough vaccine to protect their babies.

Worryingly, only 56.4% of pregnant women underwent the vaccination in 2014-2015, despite the disease being deadly in babies, and the vaccine being highly effective if given – reducing the risk of infection by 91%.

The vaccine was originally introduced in September/October 2012 following the beginnings of an outbreak in the UK.

Aston Knight Solicitors presently act for Neil and Hayley Drew of Bawtry, Doncaster, who tragically lost their baby girl Bella on 9th September 2014 to whooping cough, as published in the Sunday Mirror, Newborn twin killed – whooping cough

Senior Coroner Ms Mundy returned a finding that mother Hayley was not offered the vaccine, and that had she had been given the vaccine baby Bella would have lived, as published in the Sunday Mirror, Health chiefs slammed after baby dies. The Coroner also elected to use her powers to write to Public Health England to both make them aware of the death and to express that she feared further deaths could occur unless action is taken to review the current system.

Something is clearly amiss if after three years of a vaccination programme being in place regarding a very serious disease the uptake remains at a mere 56.4% – are we to believe that almost 44% of mothers-to-be are declining a crucial vaccine?  Alarmingly, to date there has been no mention of a detailed review or analysis from Public Health England – merely scant media comments “urging” expectant mothers to have the vaccine.

The vaccine is most effective between 28 and 32 weeks of pregnancy but has been shown to remain effective up to 38 weeks.  Expectant mothers should be contacted and advised of the vaccine when appropriate but at such low uptake rates one has to wonder whether they are being contacted and advised appropriately.  Unless and until an urgent detailed review or inquiry takes place babies will remain at risk of this deadly disease.

If you would like to know more about this issue please contact the writer at either james@astonknightsolicitors.co.uk or 0161 399 1231.

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