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Mum calls on people to have whooping cough jab
5:50pm Saturday 8th December 2012 in News
The mother of an eight week old baby battling whooping cough is calling on people to make sure they are vaccinated against the highly infectious disease.
Little Tamsin Cheshire is now recovering at home in Brighton and on antibiotics after falling ill.
Doctors have told her parents the tiny baby will take a while to get better and is likely to have a cough for more than three months.
Mother Della said seeing her baby regularly going red in the face and struggling to breathe and cough was very difficult to cope with.
She said: “It is upsetting to see her like that. The doctors say she had a mild dose of it which is why she did not have to go into hospital but she is still poorly.”
Mrs Cheshire, 37, had hoped to be vaccinated against whooping cough shortly before Tamsin was born to protect the newborn baby’s immunity against the virus.
The Government had just announced a new national immunisation programme for pregnant women following an outbreak of cases across the country this year.
Mrs Cheshire said: “Unfortunately, because it had only just been announced, there wasn’t an immediate vaccine available and we missed out.
“I would have had it if I could. I knew there had been a lot of cases in Brighton and Hove and so after the birth I went and got vaccinated as soon as possible.
“My husband Henry was going to have a vaccine as well but was not able to get one so we just had to hope.”
Unfortunately, despite their efforts, both Mr Cheshire and his daughter caught the virus.
Mrs Cheshire said: “We are just trying to get through it now but we wanted to highlight the story to show why it is so important people have the vaccine to protect themselves and others.
“That’s not just people who are pregnant. It’s also important that everyone remembers the vaccine wears off after a period of time so even if you had the jab before you may no longer be immune”
There have been 478 confirmed cases in Sussex so far this year, 15 times higher than the total for 2011.
Brighton and Hove has had 92 cases, while 171 and 215 have been recorded in East Sussex and West Sussex respectively.
Babies are not usually vaccinated until they are between two and four months old.
Sixty of 111 eligible soon-to-be-mums in Brighton and Hove took up the offer of a vaccination to protect their newborn babies against whooping cough since the launch of the programme at the end of September.
Whooping cough is a serious illness for the very young and can lead to death in some cases.
A NHS Sussex spokeswoman said: “Whooping cough remains a very serious disease, and babies are most at risk in their first two months, before they can get their first routine whooping cough vaccine.
“We would urge all women over 28 weeks pregnant to have the vaccine in order to protect their babies in the first few weeks of life.”
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