Princess Alexandra Hospital Trust steps up fight against
 whooping cough

Health / Wed 5th Sep 2018 am30 10:31am

Princess Alexandra Hospital Trust steps up fight against
whooping cough

MORE than 100 new mums-to-be have already benefited from a new one-stop clinic set up in Harlow’s Princess Alexandra Hospital Trust to protect against the dangers of whooping cough.

Recently, the antenatal unit celebrated the 100th immunisation with a gift of chocolates for the lucky patient.
As a first time expectant mum, Lauren Anderson was keen to take the step to protect her baby from the potentially deadly disease.

The hospital’s antenatal unit launched the five-day-a-week clinic to enable expectant women to have a vaccination against whooping cough while they attend for antenatal checks.

Lauren said that expecting her first baby was a time of great joy which also brings concerns for the future health of her child. Awaiting the birth in October, Lauren was still working but was attending antenatal checks at the hospital. For her, the opportunity to have the immunisation while at the unit was a huge benefit, as it meant she didn’t have to make separate appointments to have the injection.

She said: “It brings great reassurance that I have had this protection at an early date. When you are taking time from work to have your checks, it is difficult to make time for other appointments. This means I can feel reassured that my baby would not be at risk of this potentially fatal illness if I was unable to have the vaccination in time. It is such a great service especially for new mums like me, and of course it’s also a godsend for mums with other children who would otherwise have to get to separate appointments while looking after other youngsters. It’s great this service exists in Harlow.”

Sarah Fiadjoe, antenatal and new-born screening co-ordinator, who worked to launch the service, said: “We set up the clinic to promote the health of both mother and child and we are getting tremendous feedback from the mums who come in for their antenatal screening.

Babies are at high risk of complications if they contract pertussis (whooping cough). Although deaths from whooping cough are rare, most are among babies who are too young to be protected by their own vaccinations, which don’t begin until they are two months old. By getting the whooping cough vaccine in your third trimester, you will pass antibodies to your baby so he or she is born with protection against whooping cough.”

The unit will also be offering flu vaccination during the winter flu season, starting in September.

Why immunisation is so important:
• Vaccination is one of the most effective interventions midwives and other healthcare workers can provide to reduce harm from vaccine preventable diseases such as influenza, rubella and pertussis for both mother and baby.
• Pertussis vaccination in pregnancy is safe and is highly effective at preventing infant disease and death when women are vaccinated at least seven days before delivery
• Administering the vaccine during pregnancy will boost immunity in pregnant women, optimising Trans placental transfer of maternal antibody to the unborn baby, and will also reduce their likelihood of being a source of infection for their baby.
• The timing of pertussis vaccination in pregnancy is critical to ensure efficient transfer of Tran’s placental antibodies to the unborn baby.
• Baby’s subsequent immunity is passive; therefore the aim of the programme is to provide pertussis immunity lasting from birth to the first dose of primary immunisations at eight weeks old.

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 whooping cough:

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