Pregnant women advised to get whooping cough vaccination

Pregnant
. Source: Flickr/David Roseboroug

The Health Council advised Minister Edith Schippers of Public Health to have pregnant women vaccinated against pertussis in their last trimester so that their babies are protected against the disease, the Volkskrant reports.

This will be the first time that pregnant women are structurally vaccinated in the Netherlands. Currently babies are only vaccinated against pertussis, also known as whooping cough, when they are two months old. Given that it takes several weeks for antibodies to develop, babies are only protected against the disease at three months of age.

On average 128 children under five months gets this disease in the Netherlands each year. More than 100 of them end up in the hospital. Between 2005 and 2014, five babies died of pertussis. According to the Health Council, these numbers are relatively low, but every child that can be protected should be protected. The council expects that vaccinating the mothers during their last trimester will reduce the number of sick infants by 100.

According to Professor Pim van Gool, president of the Health Council, it is "difficult" to predict how women will respond to the vaccination. Especially given that the current consensus is to minimize medicine to pregnant women.

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