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Whooping cough vaccine for expectant mums

Pregnant women in the Isle of Man will be offered vaccination against whooping cough to protect their unborn child, the Island's Department of Health announces has confirmed.

Whooping cough is highly contagious and newborn babies are particularly vulnerable to it.

In the UK this year, there have been nine deaths in infants as a result of the disease and 302 cases in children under three months of age.

So far, in the Isle of Man, 11 cases have been reported but none have been in infants.

The Island's director of public health, Dr Parameswaran Kishore, says: 'We cannot be complacent, it is vital that babies are protected from the day they are born.'

He says that is why they are offering the vaccination to women who are between 28 and 38 weeks pregnant, to give their unborn baby the best protection.

By doing this, the short-term immunity is then passed onto the unborn babies, who cannot themselves be vaccinated until they are two months old.

It will be offered to pregnant women from next week through their registered GP practice.

The vaccine to be used is called Repevax, the same as is given to children as part of their routine pre-school immunisation booster.

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