Pregnancy and baby

Whooping cough vaccination in pregnancy

There's a lot of whooping cough (pertussis) around at the moment and babies who are too young to start their vaccinations are at greatest risk.

Young babies with whooping cough are often very unwell and most will be admitted to hospital because of their illness. When whooping cough is particularly severe, they can die.

Pregnant women can safely help protect their babies by getting vaccinated – ideally when they are 28-32 weeks pregnant, although they may be given the vaccine up to 38 weeks of pregnancy. 

Why are pregnant women advised to have the whooping cough vaccine?

Is the whooping cough vaccine safe in pregnancy?

Is whooping cough vaccination in pregnancy working?

Which whooping cough vaccine will I be given?

Why is Boostrix IPV replacing Repevax as the recommended vaccine?

The manufacturer's leaflet says there's no information on the use of Boostrix IPV in pregnancy. Should it be used in pregnancy?

What are the side effects of the whooping cough vaccine? 

What is whooping cough?

Should I be concerned about whooping cough? 

But aren't babies vaccinated against whooping cough to protect them? 

So, how can I protect my baby?  

Will the whooping cough vaccine in pregnancy give me whooping cough?

When should I have the whooping cough vaccine?

Will my baby still need to be vaccinated against whooping cough at two months old?

Can I have the whooping cough vaccine at the same time as the flu jab?

How can I get the whooping cough vaccination?

I was vaccinated against whooping cough as a child, do I have to be vaccinated again? 

I was vaccinated against whooping cough in a previous pregnancy, do I need to be vaccinated again?

How do I spot whooping cough in my baby?

Why are pregnant women advised to have the whooping cough vaccine?

Getting vaccinated while you’re pregnant is highly effective at protecting your baby from developing whooping cough in the first few weeks of their life.

The immunity you get from the vaccine will pass to your baby through the placenta and provide passive protection for them until they are old enough to be routinely vaccinated against whooping cough at two months old.

Is the whooping cough vaccine safe in pregnancy?

It's understandable that you might have concerns about the safety of having a vaccine during pregnancy, but there's no evidence to suggest the whooping cough vaccine is unsafe for you or your unborn baby. 

Pertussis-containing vaccine (whooping cough vaccine) has been used routinely in pregnant women in the UK since October 2012, and the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is carefully monitoring its safety. The MHRA's study of around 20,000 vaccinated women has found no evidence of risks to pregnancy or babies.

The study looked at several outcomes, including stillbirth, premature birth, death of the baby within 28 days of birth, foetal distress, caesarean delivery, low birthweight, or renal (kidney) failure in the baby, all serious events that can occur naturally in pregnancy.

The results showed that in women given whooping cough vaccination in the third trimester (after 28 weeks), there is no evidence of an increased risk of any of these outcomes. Rates of normal, healthy births were similar to those seen in unvaccinated women.

To date, around 60% of eligible pregnant women (over half a million) have received the whooping cough vaccine with no safety concerns being identified in the baby or mother.

A number of other countries, including the US and New Zealand, currently recommend vaccination against whooping cough in pregnancy. 

Is whooping cough vaccination in pregnancy working?

Yes, it is. Published research from the UK vaccination programme shows that vaccinating pregnant women against whooping cough has been highly effective in protecting young babies until they can have their first vaccination when they are two months old.

Babies born to women vaccinated at least a week before birth had a 91% reduced risk of becoming ill with whooping cough in their first weeks of life, compared to babies whose mothers had not been vaccinated.

An additional benefit is that the protection the mother receives from the vaccination will lower her own risk of infection and of passing whooping cough on to her baby.

Which whooping cough vaccine will I be given?

As there is no whooping cough-only vaccine, the vaccine you'll be given also protects against polio, diphtheria and tetanus. Until July 2014, a vaccine called Repevax was used, but from July 2014 the vaccine you'll be offered is called Boostrix IPV.

Boostrix IPV is similar to the 4-in-1 vaccine – the pre-school booster that's routinely given to children before they start school.  

Why is Boostrix IPV replacing Repevax as the recommended vaccine?

Repevax and Boostrix IPV both protect against whooping cough, diphtheria, tetanus and polio, but they are made by different manufacturers.

The vaccine has changed from Repevax to Boostrix IPV because Public Health England (the organisation that selects which vaccines to buy and use) has judged it delivers the best value to the NHS. To select which vaccine to buy and use, Public Health England uses a rigorous process for the selection in line with European Union (EU) legislation.

But the manufacturer's leaflet says there's no information on the use of Boostrix IPV in pregnancy. Should it be used in pregnancy? 

The licence for Boostrix IPV allows for its use in pregnancy when clearly needed, and when the possible benefits outweigh the possible risks.

It is standard practice with most medicines not to test them on pregnant women. This is why the manufacturer's information leaflet includes this statement, and not because of any specific safety concerns or evidence of harm in pregnancy.

Pertussis-containing vaccine has been used routinely in pregnant women in the UK since October 2012 and the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is carefully monitoring its safety. The MHRA's study of around 20,000 women vaccinated with Repevax found no evidence of risks to pregnancy or pregnancy outcome.

Boostrix (similar to Boostrix IPV but without the polio component) is one of the vaccines routinely recommended in the US for immunisation of pregnant women. Experience in the US has identified no safety concerns with the use of the vaccine in pregnancy.

There is no evidence of risk to the pregnant woman or unborn child with inactivated vaccines like Boostrix IPV. An inactivated vaccine is one that does not contain "live" vaccine. You can find out more about inactivated and "live" vaccines.

What are the side effects of the whooping cough vaccine?

You may have some mild side effects such as swelling, redness or tenderness where the vaccine is injected in your upper arm just as you would with any vaccine. These only last a few days. Other side effects can include fever, irritation at the injection site, swelling of the vaccinated arm, loss of appetite, irritability and headache. Serious side effects are extremely rare.

What is whooping cough?

Whooping cough (medically known as pertussis) is a serious infection that causes long bouts of coughing and choking, making it hard to breathe. The "whoop" is caused by gasping for breath after each bout of coughing, though babies don’t always make this noise.

Read more about whooping cough symptoms.

Should I be concerned about whooping cough?

Whooping cough is a highly infectious, serious illness that can lead to pneumonia and brain damage, particularly in young babies. Most babies with whooping cough will need hospital treatment, and when whooping cough is very severe they may die.

You may have thought that whooping cough had died out but it increased substantially in 2012, with more than 9,000 cases altogether in England. In babies under three months old, 400 had whooping cough and 14 died. 

Research from the vaccination programme in England shows that vaccinating pregnant women against whooping cough has been highly effective in protecting young babies until they can receive their own vaccinations from two months of age.

In keeping with usual disease patterns in England, whooping cough cases have fallen in all age groups since 2012. The greatest fall has been in young babies targeted by the pregnancy vaccination programme. Cases of whooping cough in older age groups are still high compared to pre-2012 levels.

Babies can be infected by people with whooping cough in these older age groups, so it is still important for pregnant women to be vaccinated to protect their babies.

Watch a video describing how nasty whooping cough can be

But aren't babies vaccinated against whooping cough to protect them?

Yes, they are, but the babies that have been getting whooping cough are generally too young to have started their normal vaccinations so they are not protected against the disease.

So, how can I protect my baby?

The only way you can help protect your baby from getting whooping cough in their first few weeks after birth is by having the whooping cough vaccination yourself while you are pregnant.

After vaccination, your body produces antibodies to protect against whooping cough. You will then pass some immunity to your unborn baby.

Will the whooping cough vaccine in pregnancy give me whooping cough?

No. The whooping cough vaccine is not a "live" vaccine. This means it doesn’t contain whooping cough (or polio, diphtheria or tetanus), and can’t cause whooping cough in you, or in your baby.

When should I have the whooping cough vaccine?

The best time to get vaccinated to protect your baby is between 28 and 32 weeks of pregnancy. This maximises the chance that your baby will be protected from birth, through the transfer of your antibodies before he or she is born.

You can still have the vaccine after 38 weeks but this is not ideal as your baby is less likely to be protected by your immunity. At this stage of pregnancy, having the vaccination may not directly protect your baby but would help protect you from whooping cough and from passing it on to your baby.

Will my baby still need to be vaccinated against whooping cough at two months if I've had the vaccine while pregnant?

Yes. Whenever you have the whooping cough vaccine, your baby will still need to be vaccinated according to the normal NHS vaccination schedule when they reach two months old. Babies are protected against whooping cough by the 5-in-1 vaccine.

Can I have the whooping cough vaccine at the same time as the flu jab?

Yes, you can have the whooping cough vaccine when you get the flu vaccine, but do not delay your flu jab so that you can have both at the same time.

How can I get the whooping cough vaccination?

You may be offered the vaccination at a routine antenatal appointment when you are between 28 and 38 weeks pregnant. 

If you are more than 28 weeks pregnant and have not been offered the vaccine, talk to your midwife or GP and make an appointment to get vaccinated.

was vaccinated against whooping cough as a child, do I need to get vaccinated again?

Yes, because any protection you may have had through either having whooping cough or being vaccinated when you were young is likely to have worn off and will not provide sufficient protection for your baby.

I was vaccinated against whooping cough in a previous pregnancy, do I need to be vaccinated in my current pregnancy?

Yes, you should get re-vaccinated from week 28 of any pregnancy.

How do I spot whooping cough in my baby?

Be alert to the signs and symptoms of whooping cough, which include severe coughing fits that may be accompanied by difficulty breathing (or pauses in breathing in young infants) or vomiting after coughing, and the characteristic "whoop" sound.

Page last reviewed: 24/09/2014

Next review due: 24/09/2016


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The 53 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

Pamina said on 10 October 2015

I had my jab a few days ago (31 weeks). Was so nervous about it. But very quick. Almost no arm pain. No feeling sick. Baby's movements as lively as usual.

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Mshell said on 03 August 2015

I had the Whooping Cough vaccine recently as I felt that it was very important to protect my baby as much as possible. Having done some research into the vaccine I decided that the benefits of having it far out wayed the risks. In terms of the after effects of the vaccine, I had a sore arm for a day, but that soon disappeared. I also did experienced a reduction in foetal movements. However, having read the comments on here about other people also experiencing reduced foetal movements, I wasn't as concerned by this and so tried not to worry. Of course if there had been no movement at all I would have called Triage, but his movement was only reduced. Thankfully 32 hours later his movements were completely back to normal. I know this can be a worrying time and reading other people's experiences really helped me.

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Lucypx said on 09 June 2015

I had the vaccination yesterday and I can't say I noticed any reduced foetal movement. My arm is a bit sore but that's the most I can complain of!

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LocalPatient said on 27 April 2015

I am slightly alarmed by the comments that "following the jab, I felt reduced foetal movement". I'm not sure if this is simply scaremongering.
I had the Whooping Cough booster in March 2013 when I was ~30 weeks pregnant with my first child and did not experience any side effects.
I am currently 30 weeks pregnant with my second child and have an appointment for the vaccination in a couple of weeks time.
I feel very lucky, in this country, to have the opportunity under the care of the NHS, to get vaccinated against a whole number of illnesses. And I am very grateful that I can also protect my children through vaccinations.
In this specific instance, I feel that the benefits outweigh any risks - although I'm not clear on what/if any risks there are. My mother's cousin was born with Whooping Cough and was not expected to survive, in fact her parents were told she would die. Luckily she did survive, however she has had long term health problems as a result. This is reason enough to protect my unborn child.

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Sedders said on 25 February 2015

Due to the fact this is a new drug in the UK and largely untested on pregnant woman I initially decided not to get this vaccine. After pressure from my midwife and hearing experiences of local woman whose children fell seriously ill with whooping cough early days, I felt scared and decided to get it. Bitterly regret doing so as I have felt great my entire pregnancy but for days have had headaches, fever, diorrea, and more worryingly my baby seemed very distressed and irate 2 days after jag, didn't stop moving in the womb for over 2 hours which is not the normal pattern. Was so concerned I contenplated phoning triage but it calmed. Today movement is normal but I still feel unwell. For me, benefits Dont outweigh the risk as I could in hindsight have made sure my newborn didn't come into contact with any sick people until own vaccinations were given.

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minxed_up said on 20 October 2014

I've just found the 9000+ figure (9,367 to be exact) in another set of official figures - I don't understand why the number of actual cases exceeds the number of suspected (i.e. notified cases).

However, I've noticed another issue with this article. It says " In babies under three months old, 400 had whooping cough and 14 died." This implies to me that 14 of the 400 babies died. But table 6 of the official figures below says that 14 people in total died. Of course, it may be that all of these were babies, but the figures don't say that as far as I can see. Again, it would be good if the figures quoted in this article were properly referenced rather than being quoted out of context like this.

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minxed_up said on 20 October 2014

This article says "whooping cough...increased substantially in 2012, with over 9,000 cases altogether in England". But I've had a look at the official figures for 2012 (which can be found here: and it says that there were 6,557 suspected (note, not actual) cases of whooping cough in 2012, in England and Wales. Where does the 9,000+ figure for England in 2012 come from? There is so much controversy about this issue, any articles like this need to be properly referenced so we can have faith in the information they're giving us.

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snooze59 said on 24 September 2014

How can a teenager (who happens to be a new Medical Student) obtain the Pertussis vaccine? She did not have it as an infant as her parents chose not to vaccinate her. Her University Occupaional Health Department have been unable to povide it and her GP says it is not available

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ZoeA2014 said on 07 August 2014

I'm slightly concernd about the lack of information / side effect logging around this vaccine! Especially as a new one is being used since July 14.
I had my vaccine yesterday and from about 3 hours later, my usually very active baby didn't move for 5 hours. I called Triage and asked if it was normal to have reduced movements after the vaccine and I was told "Well it's fairly new so we're not sure if there's a connection - come in and get checked out". So..i went to get checked out. All OK thankfully but when the doctor came by to speak to me I asked if here was a connection and she said "no, no conection". Now a simpe google search shows that there most definitely could be a connection. Are reports of reduced movements after the vaccine being logged anywhere? I know the doctors & midwives didn't reprt mine...

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bass1988 said on 03 August 2014

Just had the whooping cough injection, I'm 33 weeks +. Felt fine baby moved a lot. Glad I had it done, there's been so many cases of whooping cough near me. Only downside is my arm is still swollen after a week.

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spaceman1002 said on 12 June 2014

I've been recommended to have my baby the whopping cough vaccination. I've also read here that whopping cough is on the rise with 235 cases in 7 months.

Personally, I would like to have statistics of how many cases of whopping cough in my county in the last year. I live in Devon. If there were a few cases in the last year its not a big risk if it were 20 or 30 it would be more of a problem.

Can you give statistics please of how many instances of whopping cough have been registered in Devon in the past year?

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Kathryn at NHS Choices said on 06 May 2014

Dear Rutm,

It is confusing, but as we explain in the article 'as with other types of medicine, Repevax has not been tested on pregnant women which is why the manufacturer's information leaflet says the vaccine should not be used in pregnant women. However, the vaccine is being used in other countries and has been given to more than half a million women in the UK with no evidence of safety concerns in mother or baby'.

As whooping cough is still circulating, the NHS is strongly recommending that all pregnant women have the vaccine at 28-38 weeks.
Hope that helps,
Kathryn, NHS Choices editor

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Rutm said on 27 April 2014

I'm confused. The link from this page to the vaccine used states:

In the case of Tetanus toxoid/Pertussis antigens/Human poliovirus type 1 inactivated/Human poliovirus type 2 inactivated/Human poliovirus type 3 inactivated/Diphtheria toxoid:
the use of this medicine during pregnancy is not recommended

So which is correct? On the one hand NHS is recommending having it, then on the other they are recommending not to have it?!

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scw1969 said on 12 December 2013

i caught the virus early november last year. Started with cold symptoms. I am a keen fit cyclist. Raced on the saturday and a few days later became really ill with coughing fits especially bad at night. i thought i was suffocating and was running around in a mad panic. doctors gave me 2 courses of antibiotics that didn't touch it. i was told i had a minor 'chest infection'! Xrays followed as i was getting no better. on 5th trip to doctors i was told by my GP that he thought i may have 'whooping cough'. Blood test were carried out and at the end of January 2013 it was confirmed... I started cycling again late february but suffered a similar attack whilst racing. this put me in the gutter screaming for help...ECG the next day as a precaution, followed by asthma tests and finally someone looked down my throat at the hospital with a camera in July 2013 as i was still having issues. My Larix (voice box) had been damaged by the whooping cough causing my air ways to shut. not good when cycling hard! I am now seeing a speech therapist. I am finally better but it has taken best part of 12 months to recover. my sympathies to all those who currently have this awful virus.

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2013decbaby said on 11 December 2013

I am now 38 weeks + 2 days pregnant when I went for my 38 weeks appointment with midwife they told me to get whooping cough vaccination from your gp. I immediately called my gp and asked about this, they told me that this WC vaccination need to be taken between 28to 38weeks with your midwife , But none of the midwifes told me about this when I went for normal weekly appointments. I suggest midwifes please please be inform about these types of vaccination.

Now I got appointment with my gp to have WC vaccination dec18 th (I will have then 39 weeks 2 days). Iam bit worried now as Iam going to have this after 38weeks does this vaccination affect on my baby or not....

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ilona777 said on 20 November 2013

When I was on 30 week of my pregnancy I had the whooping cough and flu jars together. Please be aware!! I feel absolutely awful, first hours I felt very bad. My baby was kicking a lot, much much more than usual! Couldn't sleep at night!! After 24 hours, there was very rare kicks, what very scared me.
After 44 h my constructions has been started, my baby was born after 48h after jars! He was 31+1 week old, very tiny, premature baby! Now he is one year old he has lots problems with muscle stiffness! As I don't believe UK doctors anymore, we have medical support in Europe! The doctors here are sure that my baby have nervous problems only because of this vaccinations has been done and baby delivery was too quick.

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RAS09 said on 18 November 2013

I'm 29 weeks pregnant and I've just had the whooping cough jab. I feel absolutely fine, apart from a slightly sore arm, and my baby is kicking a lot, as usual! I had the jab because whooping cough is extremely dangerous for a new baby, and very highly contagious. The thought of her tiny lungs struggling for air, her being put on high dose antibiotics and possibly ending up in intensive care, or worse, was certainly enough to persuade me that it was the right thing to do. The reason there is a whooping cough epidemic is because so-called 'natural health' practitioners spread nonsense that frightens mothers into missing their children's vaccines. Vaccines work - that's why people don't die from diseases like smallpox any more.

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ffify said on 05 November 2013

I will not be taking this vaccination nor flu jab. Last time I got flu jab I got swine flu the same year and I tell you it wasn't anything nice or pleasant. As I have a history of reacting to vaccinations I will not take the risk to harm my unborn child. I also spoke to my friend who is a doctor at the immunology detp in my country and she strongly recommended not to do any vaccination while pregnant. Also the fact that it only may not that it will but may pass the antibodies onto the baby is not strong enough argument to take the risk. Also this is the first year it;s being rolled out and I don't want to be a guinean pig. If it's so safe like NHS says why there haven't been trials? So yep...I will take my chances....

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Monique5 said on 07 September 2013

I had vaccination and I dont regret it. My arm was sore a bit for 2 days, but apart from that I didnt have any side effects. I still could go back to work as a normal, drive a car as a normal etc. If we can prevent some serious illness why not to take offered vaccination? it is for our babies after all. Our mums probably would had done for us the same.

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ER79 said on 25 August 2013

Aluminium is found in many common foods and consumed in food due to food preparation methods. It is also found in many toiletry products such as face creams and deodorants. My point is we ingest or absorb these all the time.

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Macton said on 10 July 2013

I was told to have this vaccine after my 28 week midwife apptment. As I like to check things thoroughly, and not blindly follow advice (like many of us) I looked into it through various sources. The bottom line is that there has been a significant rise in number of newborn deaths from whooping cough. Vaccinating in pregnancy will give baby passive immunity from the mother- and therefore protection until 8 weeks old when baby has his/her own jab. This vaccine is not new, it's been around 20 years. Vaccinating the mother is new, but seems to be widely considered safe. I would rather have a few relatively minor side effects (incidentally I didn't have any), than ignore advice and potentially put baby at risk. It is a new idea, and new ideas scare people- because of the unknown element, but the alternative is not an option.

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clairephillips said on 05 July 2013

I would rather have the funny arm that I had for a couple of days than risk my unborn childs health. I was not informed of the achey feeling, but again, I am glad I had the side affect than my child have whooping cough. As a parent, I would hate it if I could of done something to prevent my child becoming ill or unwell.

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Mandi3 said on 30 June 2013

It worries me how people are being given such little information about this vaccine. I am 29 weeks pregnant, and am refusing the vaccine, I also refused the swine flu vaccine with my last pregnancy 4 years ago.
I was told that the vaccine is the one used on 3 year olds for their preschool jabs, NOT the baby one used on 8 week olds. So either I'm wrong, or some people on here are being told the wrong thing.
Also if it is not a 'live' vaccine, there shouldn't be any side effects, yet a friend of mine was ill after having hers, and it appears she was not alone.
Another thing is what are the list of ingredients, I wouldn't willingly put aluminium in my body. We are not being told the full facts of this vaccine. If health professionals don't know the full facts and full risks, and how to help us if something does go wrong. Who do we then turn to when things do go wrong.
I am not anti-vaccine, but when it comes to situations like this, it is not worth the risk for us.

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alliii said on 10 June 2013

My wife had this vaccine the other day. Within 24 hours she has become very ill and has a rash which resembles shingles or chicken pox. She is waiting on microbiology results. We asked the nurse when getting the jab about side effects and were told nothing to worry about and all is fine. In hospital after rash outbreak were told they don't know what to do!!! there is no data about side effects as not enough tests have been done. Perhaps the people getting the jab should be told that although there is no evidence of harm to the mother or her baby, there is no evidence of no harm as well.

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MarieVG said on 31 May 2013

I am 30 weeks pregnant and had the vaccine three days ago. I'm feeling absolutely fine and have just had a sore arm where the vaccine was administered. My baby is moving and kicking as much as usual too (this is to address PincknFluffly's comment above).
Some of the comments posted here make me immensely angry, on the other hand. We have seen the effects of some parents' refusal to have their children vaccinated against measles in Wales lately... It has meant a new epidemic, which has put those children's lives at risk, but is also putting the lives of newborn babies, who can't have the jab right away, at risk. The same has obviously been happening with whooping cough (although less picked up by the media). The reason I had to take the vaccine is precisely because some people share some of the irrational ideas posted here. So a little less skepticism and a little more trust in the NHS and its professional staff would do us all a lot of good and would mean that my baby could enjoy her first months without my having to worry about a new epidemic (in fact, we've already planned to spend her second months in continental Europe, where such epidemics are now unheard of!).

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Liz20 said on 10 May 2013

I'm 33 weeks,and i had the Wc vaccine yesterday,after reading all the posts here,i was prepare for the side effects,i was sure i was going to get sick,but nothing at all,my arm was sore but i applied some ice on it and it got so much better,and now i can just feel it, and it didn't make feel anything like i was expecting,i did have a nice lunch afterwards because i was really hungry :), but,until now so far so good.Good luck!!!

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cin said on 10 May 2013

I wouldn't recommend the flu jab and Wc at the same time,it is too much for your body,i personally had only the Wc and nothing else,and i won't be having the flu jab,it is my choice,i had the WC vaccine yesterday and didn't feel any side effects,nothing at all,my arm is not even bruise or red or lumpy,so,every body react in different ways,and i know there are people worrying about side effects on babies but they've been given the vaccine in france,and Germany, with not side effects,and for me,i rather have an autistic baby than not baby at all,if that is the case,and the risk are in every vaccine they have,and this vaccine are given to a 8 weeks baby anyway straight into the system,when a pregnant woman have the vaccine,it doesn't go straight to the baby,it goes very slowly,and it take two weeks to pass it all.

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PinknFluffy said on 01 May 2013

I am 32 weeks pregnant and was told last week that I should have had this injection by now so I had it a couple of days ago. I have defiantly learnt a lesson from it. I was told (as you are with all jabs) You may feel ill afterwards but take some pain killers and all will be well. Well that wasn't the case. What alarmed me about the jab wasn't the effects on me, I had a very sore arm (as if I had been punched) which effecting my sleeping, it was the effect it had on my unborn baby. Effects that I wasn't told about to which had me scared for 24 hrs. So this is my advance to any pregnant woman who is having or considering this jab. It may effect your baby too.
With me my baby's movements became VERY sluggish. This is a baby that moves/kicks 35 times a day and the movements have been reduced to 15 moves/kicks. Anything I did feel felt very very weak indeed. I had my 10 kicks a day though so I knew baby was just feeling the effects of the jab and nothing else. At the end of the 24 hr period after my jab the baby's movements became stronger and now is moving normally again. I will be addressing this with my GP and Midwife to make them aware that this has happened and next time they offer a jab I will defiantly be giving it a second thought.
I am not saying don't have the jab. I'm saying make an informed decision and making you aware of some of the side effects that they wont tell you on the day!

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sam_sam said on 22 April 2013

Having red some of the comments on this message board I now feel rather alarmed by the recurrence of side effects following the taking of whooping cough jabs by pregnant women. I am on week 29 of my first pregnancy. Being an optimist about health guidelines in this country and wanting to have the best protection for my baby I went on and had the jab last week. To my surprise, a couple of days after the jab I started to have strong bouts of coughing with secretion and itchiness on my chest and throat - a kind of severe coughing which I hadn't experienced before, not even as a child.

Today at a routine appointment with my GP I was told that it is normal for the vaccine to mimic the effects of that which it is protecting you and your baby from. Now, isn't that the exact opposite of what is written on this information page? People do seem to be getting side effects with this jab and if this is not clearly explained then we are left feeling both suspicious of the advice being made available and vulnerable for not knowing whether this has been a bad decision for our babies' well-being.

I've been having a perfectly healthy pregnancy so far and am now concerned that I shouldn't have trusted the government guidelines on this. Can someone from the NHS please come around to explain what is going on? Thank you.

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heverest said on 01 February 2013

I'm 34 wks pregnant and had the combined vaccine on Monday. In light of the sharp increase in newborn deaths from Whooping cough last year, I am comforted that my unborn child will now have immunity to whopping cough until it is old enough to be vaccinated.
However, the info. provided by my midwife and the nurse was very poor "you may have a heavy arm"! I've been quite ill now for a few days now (aching, sore throat, tiredness, headaches). After enquiring at my NCT class and reading the above I realised I was not alone and I think there is a real possibility that the flu like symptoms some women experience are related to the vaccine - not a reason not to have it, but the NHS should provide some warning so that you can prepare.
Second, why is there not a single vaccine for Whooping cough? Surely the chances of side effects are limited if you are only exposed to one of the de-activated infections?
I'd be really grateful to hear the NHS's response to the above.

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nldegg said on 18 December 2012

There is more information available on the HPA website:

worth a look through

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derekn7 said on 15 December 2012

I am in much doubt about the safety of these vaccines, imagine giving all those chemicals to a baby that isn't even born yet and much worse they contain aluminium which doesn't have a place in the human body. How did humans ever come so far without vaccines.

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pamstar said on 11 December 2012

I've previously had my flu jab with no probelms. Now 39 weeks pregnant and had my whooping cough vacine yesterday. I am severely disappointed by lack of information from NHS website and nurse at my local surgery for not giving any advice whatsoever on the possible side affects of having the jag. There is mention of overall safety not being an issue, the end! this is not good enough. I have been up all night with headache, all over aching and mild nausea. After being on other forums other mums-to-be have had a similar reaction. A lack of information from NHS leaves me worrying about if this is 'normal' . i will be phoning the doctor in the morning. Should note that i agree with the aim of the vaccine, just not the lack of information by NHS whilst on their PR campaign.

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neil duffy said on 18 November 2012

on the 1st November we were offered the flu jab and the whooping cough jab. we were told by the nurse it was safe and the government advise the vaccination, we were given no leaflet just if Kim had any allergic reactions. Kim had the most perfect pregnancy our 5th, bloods where good all pregnancy and our Baby (Oscar) was very active and always a good heartbeat. Sadly 6 days latter our Baby was pronounced dead at 37 weeks, cause of death Hypoxia with no explanation. I found it a bit unusual that since the Jab Kim experienced lose of Blood and movements slowing down.. I am now determined to find out if this vac had anything to do with it. I know that if we had been given the leaflet we would not have had the jab, but as a parent if you are told this will protect then you will do whats needed.

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2kidsandacat said on 12 November 2012

Had both my flu and WC jabs today, I'm 29 weeks. I can understand some of your concerns, especially those exposed to whooping cough before or after the 28-38 week window. As if we don't have enough to worry about as it is. I found my Nurse Practitioner very good, there are no cases within my borough at the moment and I checked out with her that the cough I've developed over the last couple of days is just a standard cough and not the onset of WC, as I was concerned that if it was would I still be able to have the vaccine and what treatment was available (if any). She understood the fears of pregnant women using a vaccine that obviously hasn't been trialled and explained that they use the same vaccine that they use on babies, so there's no reason to think that it's going to be unsafe on our unborn babies. For myself, I'm not worried about it being unsafe and would be more worried if I failed to have the vaccine and then my baby suffered as a result. I was worried over the swine flu a few years back and when I had my son immunised I was worried, but these fears proved unfounded, so I'm putting my trust in the people who make the decisions that these vaccines are safe. It's an individual choice. I'm shocked at the ladies who have experienced either a lack of knowledge from their GP surgery, or a lack of availability of the vaccine. Maybe contacting either the midwife or the hospital maternity unit could answer your concerns. Wishing you and your babies the very best x

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Lj101 said on 08 November 2012

I am currently 10 weeks pregnant roughly and have been exposed to whopping cough from a child where I work. I can't find anything about the risks to me and baby and does anyone know the information or where I can find the info I need.

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bexg1984 said on 06 November 2012

I had the vaccine at 37+3 & my Son was born by emergency section at 38+1... Given that the vaccine takes 2 weeks to pass to baby I'm really concerned that he won't have git the benefit. I am expressing & feeding baby breast milk in the majority of his bottles (I sometimes give formula at night). I'm so concerned that he will catch this as I've heard of so many kids in the area having it that I've literally locked us both away in the house. If I'm passing antibodies on through the breast what are the chances of him catching it?

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Lars said on 03 November 2012

This page is woeful.

You fail to include any sources for the comments you make.

And you fail to answer or give data on any of the following vital questions:

1. What is the efficacy of pre-natally administered Revepax?
2. Is there any published safety data on pre-natal Revepax?
3. is there any published safety data on pre-natal Tdap (the USA vaccine)
4. if a pregnant mother has the antibodies (from a previous vaccination or illness) does Revepax confer any additional protection?

Why not publish all the data used by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation when making this recommendation?

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christinedykins said on 30 October 2012

I already have one child coming up 2 and never had this vac and he is fine. Now expecting baby no.2 and have been recommended to have the vac, I will not be getting this done as there is not enough information or figures regards to pregnant women having this infection. Also who in their right mind as a mother or father would let someone who is ill or has a cold around there new born baby. I know I wouldn't so why should I have the vac when I would never allow someone who is ill around my children. Also what information or figures is there about the other added extras added to this injection as it is not just for whooping cough.
I shall not be participating as a guinea pig for this.

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joko37 said on 22 October 2012

I think we easily get distracted by worries about the safety of vaccins, which in the past have proven to be unfounded. These recommendations are there to protect our very vulnerable newborn babies. 10 deaths this year is a significant number.
I would definitely have the vaccination if I was pregnant and will be making my pregant friends aware of it.

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Butterflyluv said on 18 October 2012

I personally think it is extremely irresponsible of the NHS to be recommending a vaccine, which clearly states on the package insert: 'the use of Repevax is not recommended during pregnancy'. I am disgusted and will certainly not be accepting this vaccine when 'offered'. Thanks, but no thanks. Pregnant women deserve better than this.
My advice is to read the insert like you would any other 'over-the-counter drug you are considering taking and make your own decision.
All logic says this is just wrong. Very disappointed.

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Smints83 said on 13 October 2012

I am 36.4 weeks pregnant. I was suffering with a cough similar to whooping cough symptoms since the start of my second trimester and even with 2 courses of antibiotics and it getting much better I still have a cough now. The GP has told me that whopping cough is very rare and it is unlikely to be that but no blood test was taken even when i requested it. I have now had the whooping cough & flu vaccine 3 days ago. Since then I have felt knocked out extremely tired with joints hurting. My arm was sore but is starting to feel better. My baby is moving and kicking around so I am taking that as a good sign but obviously anxious after deciding to take the advice of GP and mid wife to have both shots. I just hope that it won’t be one of those situations that will pop up in the news in a few years about the side effects, although after how ill I was with the cough back in July I couldn't live with myself if my little one caught whooping cough and I could have done something to prevent it - especially with the risk of death on top.

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klbs2012 said on 08 October 2012

I am 38 weeks pregnant and my gp practice still doesn't know when they will be able to offer the jab. I first contacted them last week, when all they could suggest was putting my name down on their waiting list. Having heard nothihg from them I called them again this morning, only to be told 'don't call us we'll call you'. They are not in the least bit interested in the fact that I am 38 weeks - surely there should be some preference given on their list to women who are at/close to the 38 week mark? I am not a 'worried well' kind of person but I am getting very frustrated. Why publicise that it will be on offer when quite clearly, over a week on, it still isn't?!!

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caroline64 said on 07 October 2012

Common sense really: why is the intention to use a triple vaccine only mentioned way down in th einfo above??? Surely KISS applies and if the risk is deemed worth it (giving a vaccination during pregnancy that is) it ought to be the simplest possible action?
The reason that the single vaccine for Pertussis (and Rubella) are 'not available' is that they long ago went out of licence and are now generic drugs that anyone can manufacture - hence they are not at all profitable compared to the recent triple vaccines that are licensed only to the pharmaceutical company!
Now others may disagree but I am alarmed by profits dictating policy and via NHS civil servants who (if more of them were scientists perhaps) might make better decisions...

Strange too that they are not pushing for women planning to become pregnant to have a course of the triple vaccine to boost their (and their baby's) protection? With a teenage daughter this is all back opn my agenda with a vengeance!

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Abi77 said on 06 October 2012

I am 37 weeks pregnant. At 31 weeks I had suspected whooping cough and was prescribed anti biopics by my GP. My midwife seemed unconcerned. Last week I was told by the GP and midwife that I must have the WC vaccine as it is 'goverment policy' (even though it's very likely I am just recovering from the infection). I was not happy with this response and contacted my maternity unit where the consultant said I need an urgent blood test to establish if I have had WC and I should only have the vaccine if my test is negative for WC! My surgery has refused to do the blood test and I am having to have this done privately (I won't get the results until I'm 38 weeks!!!) . To say I am disgusted with the way my GP and midwife have treated me is an understatement.

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sarahjz said on 04 October 2012

Article above mentioned that 10 babies have sadly already died this year. What is the 'average' number of deaths per annum due to whooping cough? If i have already recently (within last 3 years) had the other vaccines how will this affect both me and baby? And why is it ok to introduce anti-bodies to the baby before it is born but not in the first two months of it's life?
So many questions as the midwife didn't have any info apart from a leaflet that didnt even mention the vaccine was made up of several others.

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skittleruby said on 03 October 2012

I am currently 41 wks + 1 day pregnant and was advised to have the vaccine so going to my GP surgery today to have it done. I doubt being so far gone in my pregnancy it will have any effect on my unborn baby as they advise you have it between 28-38 weeks but if it did prevent or aid in my baby not contracting whopping cough before they can be vaccinated at two months old i think its worth having to be on the safe side.

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Susie said on 02 October 2012

Ava Grace - it's too soon for data on the vaccine's uptake and impact in the US to be available but, as with any vaccine, its use is being monitored and any adverse events are being reported.

This means anything that could be attributed to the vaccination is recorded, such as soreness at the site of the injection, or an allergic reaction. So far, there is no evidence to suggest that the whooping cough vaccine is harmful to pregnant women or their babies.

We've updated the page to make it clearer how the vaccine used in the UK differs from the one used in the United States. Hope this helps.

Susie at NHS Choices

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Pat x said on 02 October 2012

my daughter is 35 weeks pregnant with twins. she rang the GP surgery yesterday and they didnt know what was happening - they said they would be in touch ,when they did ! that Gps and midwifes are not fully informed is not acceptable . pregnant women are being advised left ,right and centre to have this vaccine early - its too late to have it 2 weeks before birth. women expecting twins need it earlier as they dont usually go full term .

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trufflemouse said on 30 September 2012

I completely agree with what Gem256 has said. I am 36 weeks pregnant and keen to have the vaccination but it seems that both my GP and midwife have very little information about the vaccination. I have been told by my GP that my midwife will give me the vaccine but my midwife has told me that I must make an appointment for it with my GP.

I understand that it is best to have the vaccine bafore I am 38 weeks pregnant so I only have two weeks before this.
How highly frustrating that no-one seems to know what is going on!

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loubie0 said on 29 September 2012

Please click on link below for Department of health (dept who introduced the vaccination programme ) guidelines and statement on said matter.

yes I agree that the clinician's who will be rolling the programme out should have been ready to answer all questions from the public.

You can always call NHS Direct 24 hours a day. They had information to impart on the same day as it appeared on the media. (28th)

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Gem256 said on 28 September 2012

Although it's a good idea to make pregnant women aware of the vaccine, it's even more important to make sure the medical practioners know before releasing this information to the press. I've just been to see my midwife for a checkup and she and the GPs at the medical centre knew as much about this as I did. Where are the extra stocks coming from? Who is going to perform these extra vaccinations at a time when people are already being encouraged to have the flu jab? My midwife had no idea.

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Ava Grace said on 28 September 2012

What exactly is the information from the previous 18 months of the US vaccination programme? What was looked at - weight, development etc? The trial follow up time was by definition not very long so are any conclusions drawn yet watertight? The US vaccine was 'similar' not thesame - what are the differences and how might these affect the outcome?
If there is insufficient evidence how can you possibly say some thing is safe?

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