Pregnant women in Dinnington are being urged to get vaccinated against whooping cough to offer protection to their new born babies.
The Department of Health announced the free vaccinations would be offered following a rise in the number of cases and because newborn babies are particularly vulnerable to it.
The temporary vaccination programme aims to boost the short-term immunity passed on by pregnant women to their newborn babies who can’t be vaccinated themselves until they are two -months-old.
There have been nine infant deaths as a result of whooping cough this year, and 302 cases of the disease in children under three-months-old.
Dr John Radford, director of public health at NHS Rotherham, said: “It’s vital that babies are protected from the day they are born – that’s why we are offering the vaccine to pregnant women, from the 28th week of pregnancy.”
“Over the last year there has been a large rise in the number of whooping cough cases with the most serious cases being in children too young to be protected by routine vaccinations.”
“If you are pregnant, getting vaccinated is the best way you can protect your baby against whooping cough.”
Whooping cough in children usually begins with a persistent dry and irritating cough that progresses to intense bouts of coughing. These are followed by a distinctive whooping noise.
Other symptoms include a runny nose, raised temperature and vomiting after coughing. In adults the symptoms may be less specific, presenting as a persistent cough. Symptoms can last for around three months.
All pregnant women will be offered the whooping cough vaccination by their local GP.