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Pregnancy vaccinations

*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 and run maternity department clinics at these hospitals. You can get your vaccine on the following days:

Basildon – Tuesday and Friday, 9am-5pm
Broomfield – Tuesday and Wednesday, 9am – 5pm
Southend – Tuesday and Friday, 9am – 5pm

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.

The Trust's Immunisation team are running drop-in clinics at maternity departments within:

  • Basildon Hospital
  • Broomfield Hospital
  • Southend Hospital (2nd floor).

You can also get your flu vaccine (seasonal) and COVID-19 vaccination at these clinics.

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