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Immunisations and vaccinations during pregnancy

*DURING FLU SEASON: You can get your flu vaccine at the same time as your whooping cough vaccine*

Some vaccines are recommended during pregnancy to protect your health and the health of your baby. You can get your whooping cough, flu and COVID-19 vaccines.

Our Immunisation Team offer vaccines to women who are over 16 weeks pregnant in Basildon, Broomfield and Southend.

Whooping Cough

Whooping cough rates have risen sharply in recent years and new born babies who are too young to vaccinate are at greatest risk. If you are 16 weeks pregnant, it is advised for you to get your free vaccine to protect your baby.

Whooping cough (also called pertussis) is a bacterial infection of the lungs and breathing tubes. It spreads very easily.

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

Getting vaccinated while you're pregnant, ideally from 16 weeks up to 32 weeks, is highly effective in 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 eight weeks old.

If for any reason you miss having the vaccine, you can still have it up until you go into labour. However, this is not ideal, as your baby is likely to get less protection from the vaccine. 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.

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

  1. It has been used routinely in pregnant women in the UK since October 2012.
  2. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) monitors the safety of all vaccines.
  3. The MHRA's study of around 20,000 vaccinated women has found no evidence of risks to pregnancy or babies.

To date, around 69% of eligible pregnant women 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, Argentina, Belgium, Spain, Australia and New Zealand, currently recommend vaccination against whooping cough in pregnancy.

You may have some mild side effects such as redness, swelling or tenderness where the vaccine is injected in your upper arm. These only last a few days.

Other side effects can include mild fever, headache and muscle pain, loss of appetite, irritability and swelling of the vaccinated arm. Serious side effects are extremely rare.

Drop into our clinics, Monday to Friday between 10am and 4pm.

Southend Pregnancy vaccine clinic is now open to drop in any time. Located at Southend Hospital, maternity department (2nd floor) located near either the lifts or the scanning rooms.

Frequently asked questions

You can recommended to have the vaccine between 16 and 32 weeks, as the peak of the antibody takes two weeks. However, although there is no guarantee we can protect the baby, you will be protected and less likely to give it to your baby. You can also get vaccinated up to two months after delivery for this reason, until the baby has their first primary immunisation.

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.

Yes. Also you still need to have the vaccination again, even if you have contracted whooping cough. The vaccine provides a booster to your antibody production and therefore protects your baby.

Yes, one vaccine is enough for multiple pregnancies.

It is recommended that you are vaccinated every pregnancy, even if a previous pregnancy didn’t go to full term.

There is no whooping cough-only vaccine, the vaccine you'll be given also protects against polio, diphtheria and tetanus. The vaccine 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. There isn’t an alternative to having the vaccine to protect your unborn from whooping cough.

The vaccine will provide enough protection for your baby until their first immunisations at 8 weeks. 

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