Northern Ireland: Pregnant women urged to get pertussis immunisation

06 September 2019

Northern Ireland’s Public Health Agency (PHA) has reminded pregnant women to get the whooping cough vaccine, with the latest figures revealing a rise in cases this year.

Up to 19 June this year, 44 confirmed cases of whooping cough were reported to the PHA, of which just over one-fifth were in infants aged under six months – too young to be protected by their routine childhood immunisations. During the equivalent period last year, there were just 16 cases.

Dr Jillian Johnston, PHA consultant in health protection, said: ‘Whooping cough continues to circulate in Northern Ireland, and every three to four years it is normal to see increased activity.’

But she added that it was ‘really important that women receive the pertussis vaccine during every pregnancy, so that their baby is protected against whooping cough in their first months of life’.

The best time to get the vaccine is between 16 and 32 weeks of pregnancy.