New vaccine against whooping cough

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Pregnant women across Yorkshire are to be offered whooping cough vaccinations - after a large rise in cases and deaths among young infants.

The temporary programme starts next week and will be monitored by the Health Protection Agency (HPA).

The move comes as the latest figures - released yesterday by the HPA - show there were 567 comfirmed cases in Yorkshire in the first eight months of this year, compared to 35 in 2011 and 26 in 2010.

There were nine death so fyoung children in the same period - up from seven in the whole of 2011. The decision to introduce the temporary measure was made after independent vaccine experts agreed a vaccine should be offered to women between 28 and 38 weeks’ pregnancy. Chief medical officer Dame Sally Davies said: “Whooping cough is highly contagious and newborns are particularly vulnerable.”