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Whooping cough vaccinations to continue

GPs and practice nurses will continue to offer whooping cough vaccines to pregnant women. 

In light of new figures showing a high uptake, NHS England will continue to commission the programme “until further notice”. 

Health Protection Agency (HPA) figures show 60% of pregnant women who delivered in January agreed to be vaccinated for whooping cough, otherwise known as pertussis. 

Just 668 cases were reported in January 2013, compared to 835 cases in December 2012.

The Department of Health's (DH) March Vaccine Update said: In the light of recent advice from JCVI, the NHS Commissioning Board will continue commissioning the pertussis immunisation programme for pregnant women in 2013/14 until further notice, with collection of data to support assessment of vaccine coverage. 

“An announcement about the continuation of the temporary programme and the accompanying data collection will be made in the next few weeks in a letter to NHS organisations from the Department of Health, the NHS Commissioning Board and Public Health England.”

The £10 million programme, which was originally described as “temporary”, began in October 2012. 

It is estimated around 650,000 women who are between 28 and 38 weeks of pregnancy will be included in the vaccination programme every year.