Monday, October 1, 2012

Pregnant women in the UK to be offered whooping cough vaccination

The British Department of Health announced last week, that starting from today, pregnant women will be offered the whooping cough vaccine to protect their new borns. The idea is that when vaccinated during pregnancy, the maternal antibodies will be passed through the placenta to the baby before birth and will protect the infant in the first couple of months of their lives, when they cannot yet be vaccinated. This move comes after nine infants, all under three months old, died of pertussis in the UK of 302 under 3 month olds who contracted the disease (yes, that is a mortality of 3 percent, 3 of 100). The HPA welcomes this move, after having received notification of 1230 whooping cough cases in August 2012 alone.

Whooping cough is not a mild disease by any stretch of the imagination - the BBC has several testimonials from mothers of babies, but also older kids:
Nine year old Zara Mummery was seven when she caught whooping cough. One night she was coughing so much she stopped breathing.
"It was very frightening, but I remember that my mum brought me into the bathroom and she called the paramedics.
"She was just screaming on the phone 'my child's going to be dead, please come'."
Her mother Katrina said she couldn't get her daughter to breathe.
"It was like she froze. It was one of the most terrifying things any parent can go through, to think they have lost a child."
Zara spent a week in hospital on very strong antibiotics and is now fit and well.
 While the number of cases in the UK are increasing at an alarming rate,

it is worth remembering what the situation was like before the introduction of the vaccine. 
Before routine vaccination in 1957, whooping cough outbreaks in the UK were on a huge scale. It could affect up to 150,000 people and kill 300 in a single year.
What is already being remarked in vaccine-critical circles is that the dTaP/IPV booster vaccine, Repevax, is not recommended for use in pregnant women in the UK. The package information states:
The effect of REPEVAX on embryo-foetal development has not been assessed. No teratogenic effect of vaccines containing diphtheria or tetanus toxoids, or inactivated poliovirus has been observed following use in pregnant women. Limited post-marketing information is available on the safety of administering REPEVAX to pregnant women.
In their FAQs for GPs, the reason for the recommendation despite this disclaimer is provided:
Why does the Patient Information Leaflet state that Repevax® should not be used in pregnancy?
This says that the vaccine is not recommended for use in pregnancy because of the routine exclusion of pregnant women from clinical trials, and not because of any specific safety concerns or evidence of harm in pregnancy. Use in pregnancy is not contraindicated.
The CDC recently published the reasoning behind their older recommendation to vaccinate pregnant women against pertussis, and, using data from VAERS and two smaller studies, found that vaccination during pregnancy is safe. There is good indication that vaccine-induced antibodies pass through the placenta and hence would protect the newborn.

This new recommendation could save lives - I'll tell my pregnant friends about it - you should, too.


  1. I'll tell them all right - to tell them that the JCVI is recommending an unlicensed unproven vaccine to play russian roulette with their bodies and those of their unborn babies. Thalidomide with a side of Repevax, anyone?

  2. I already tell my pregnant friends in the United States to get the booster Tdap vaccine...based on all the studies conducted and published about the vaccine's safe use during the latter stages of pregnancy...and based on the enormous risks in terms of morbidity and mortality, to newborns who contract pertussis.

    "Anonymous" obviously did not read the links provided by Catherina that detailed the research and studies conducted about vaccine safety for pregnant women. I'd hate to think that (s)he did...and is so reading comprehension challenged that (s)he actually believes the rant that (s)he posted here.

  3. Don't you think that is rather dramatic, LeonieDelt? Thalidomide, really?

  4. Thalidomide, really? 3-2-1 "Anonymous". How about Vioxx and Tobacco Science?

  5. Yeah, thalidomide was a mistake because no one knew that molecules existed in different forms. Vioxx and tobacco were at least willful.

  6. Spammer alert above.

  7. Thanks lilady, appropriately filed.

  8. The spammer is back again.

  9. Oh that is isn't it. Thanks lilady, into the bin for momdoc.

  10. your conscience will pay for all the damage you are doing to others who suck your stories.

    i bet that all your "scientific sources" are paid by the same paymasters which are paying you.

    and no, i don't have any scientific proof. your blog just stinks of treason. a lot.

  11. I'm getting paid for this gig? Damn, I wish someone had told me.

    Treason eh? Could you provide the laws and countries which we are in violation of?

    I love the articulation of the average anti-vaxxer.