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Whooping cough vaccine, don't know what to do!!

(53 Posts)
Linnielou5 Sun 23-Jun-13 14:55:35


As the title says I am undecided as to get the vaccine or not. I'm 28 weeks pregnant so at my midwife appt on Thursdays I was given the booklet about the jag, I didn't read it untill last night and I've been full of worry since even to the point of crying. I've tried looking up the internet and all it says is that it's not licensed to be used on pregnant women so the risks are unknown, haven't came across any bad stories about it. I'm petrified to get it incase something happens but I know I would never forgive myself if my baby caught it either. I don't know anyone or have even heard of anyone close by thats had whooping cough and my mum is a nurse and she hasn't heard of any cases either. Hubby says I should get it, my mum is undecided, haven't spoke to anyone else for an opinion. This is my 3rd baby and I'm more worried this time than I was with my 1st. Baby moves around loads some days then hardly any the next so I find myself waiting untill I finally get that first kick of the day and then still worry 24/7.

I'm wondering, who's had the jag, who will get it and who definatley won't?? I know this is my decision but would really appreciate other opinions.

Thanks for reading. xx

TrudyW Sun 23-Jun-13 15:29:57

Hi Linnie,

I'm 21+1 with baby 2 and I already know I'm not going to have it. My decision is based on the fact that it hasn't been given to pregnant women long enough to see if any ill effects appear as a result.

I just see it as I didn't have it with my son as it wasn't offered then, he's 3, and he never contracted it. I understand there has been recent outbreaks of it leading to some newborn deaths which is incredibly frightening but I think if the majority of women have the vaccine then it is less likely for an epidemic in my area.

Also once baby's immunisations come around, whooping cough is included in them anyway so they will get covered after their first weeks.

I'm quite 'funny' towards immunisations anyway, I didn't give my son the MMR and bloody hell the trouble I've had over that, with nurses/doctors, its gotten to the point of arguing with several members of staff telling me my son has to have it when I clearly know that isn't the case! I've just had to stand my ground on that one!

This of course is all my personal opinion and whatever u do is entirely ur choice but I agree it is a daunting decision x

cupcake78 Sun 23-Jun-13 15:32:15

Nothing is licensed for use on pregnant women!

The risks of not getting it done far out way the risks of getting it done. IMO there is more chance of baby getting whooping cough and dying than being affected by the potential risks of the jab itself.

starsandstripes72 Sun 23-Jun-13 15:37:58

I had it done. I weighed up the options and thought it would be safer for baby. Its all personal preference and im sure whatever you decide will be whats best for you and baby. It helped talking it through with dh when we made the decision. The only side affect i had was a swollen arm and a bit of a bruise.

Essexgirlupnorth Sun 23-Jun-13 15:44:37

I am 25 weeks and planning to have it done. The risk to the baby from whooping cough is higher than any risks from the jabs IMO.

lucybrad Sun 23-Jun-13 16:43:56

Why on earth would you not want to have it. Its recommended by health professionals, thousands of pregnant women have had it over the last couple of months, and its been used on small children for decades safely. Before immunusation whooping cough killed many children, luckily the immunisation prgramme virtually wiped it out ...... until last year when numbers started rising again (much the same as measles recently). Very young babies in Britain DIED of it last year. They DIED of it. Now I bet if you ask those parents if they wished they had access to the jab while pregnant.... what would they say?

chicaguapa Sun 23-Jun-13 16:48:43

My sis is a midwife and had whooping cough when pregnant, but before the vaccination was offered. She said she recommends it to pregnant women.

chocolatesolveseverything Sun 23-Jun-13 16:49:38

I've had it. Was a no-brainer for me once I saw the recent whooping cough statistics. There is no evidence to suggest this vaccine could harm your baby. But whooping cough on the other hand, that does a lot of damage...

lucybrad Sun 23-Jun-13 16:54:09

I feel my reply may have been a bit harsh, especially since the OP has been at the point of tears worrying. flowers

Linnielou5 Sun 23-Jun-13 17:06:15

Thank you for your replies. I have pretty much decided to have it, I can't keep baby indoors for 8 weeks and I also have a 5 yo and 3 yo so will be doing school runs etc and it's impossible to avoid public places. My hubby thinks I should have it, my mum says she probably would if she were me but understands my concerns in the fact it's not been used on pregnant women but at the same time there has bound to have been thousands of women who have now had it and if there were any real risk surley we would know by now?? I'm such a worrier about everything even when I'm not pregnant!xx

Essexgirlupnorth Sun 23-Jun-13 17:06:21

No lucybrad I think it was a good point well made.

rallytog1 Sun 23-Jun-13 17:07:52

As others have said, nothing is licensed for use on pregnant women. That's because formal clinical trials would be unethical, not because there are specific concerns in the case of the whooping cough vaccine.

I don't want to be harsh as I do understand how worrying it can be, but I also think it's a little selfish to refuse an immunisation on the grounds of risk, but then to rely on others taking the (so-called) risk to give you and your LO 'herd immunity', as a pp has suggested. It's not really fair to expect others to take (what you think is) a risk so that you don't have to.

For me it was a no-brainer and the benefits far outweighed the risks. I had the jag, felt no ill effects in myself and DD is now a perfect two-month-old.

MrsHuxtable Sun 23-Jun-13 17:47:53

Would I still need the vaccine if I had WC a few years ago?

noblegiraffe Sun 23-Jun-13 17:52:22

Yes, you would, MrsHuxtable. You need your body to be making antibodies to the vaccine at the time of maximum antibody transfer through the placenta, which is at the period in pregnancy the jab is given.

dontlaugh Sun 23-Jun-13 17:58:47

My baby contracted whooping cough last year (I'm not in UK). Believe me, having seen him at 3 months old, unable to breathe, vomiting every feed and losing weight v fast as he was so ill, I wish I'd been offered it.
He'd had his first vaccine but it only gives 60% protection til second shot. He caught it in that window.
I would take the vaccine if I had another baby.

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Sun 23-Jun-13 18:02:38

Hi there, if it makes you feel better in the US they've given the WC jab to pregnant women for years with no problems. Read up a bit more about vaccinations and their mechanism. It really is not feasible that they would have effects on an unborn baby - they are just to trigger immune response to create antibodies.

Relying on herd immunity is downright selfish. The jab is safe whereas whooping cough kills.

islingtongirl Sun 23-Jun-13 19:03:32

I had it last last at 30 weeks and didn't even think twice about it. As others have said, for me the risks of the baby contracting whopping cough far outweighed any negligible risks of having the jab. Incidentally my jab contained other element, diphtheria etc, did others?

islingtongirl Sun 23-Jun-13 19:03:56

*had it last week at 30 weeks

gintastic Sun 23-Jun-13 19:05:54

I had it at 37 weeks when it started being offered last October. No brainer. DD2 is perfect. Snoring, but perfect :-)

Longfufu Sun 23-Jun-13 19:36:24

I had the jab, IMO it's irresponsible not to have it.

redandyellowandpinkandgreen Sun 23-Jun-13 19:45:56

I see it that we can only rely on the health professionals to guide us, they know more than I ever can with a bit of internet research so I do as advised.

IJustWoreMyTrenchcoat Sun 23-Jun-13 20:30:37

Are they still giving the jab now? It hasn't been mentioned to me since my Booking appointment. The Midwife then said she didn't know if the programme would still be going by the time I was at the right stage to have it as the 'season' would be over hmm.

I am 33 weeks tomorrow, has anybody at my stage had it recently? A little worrying...

chocolatesolveseverything Sun 23-Jun-13 20:48:47

Hi Trenchcoat, yes I had it last week at 34 wks. It was a bit later than planned largely because midwife hadn't mentioned it, but when I asked she said yes and told me to book an appointment with the practice nurse.

Longfufu Sun 23-Jun-13 21:20:04

I had mine 4 weeks ago at 28 weeks.

rowtunda Sun 23-Jun-13 21:32:03

It's a no brainer, I'm going to have it. I'm a GP in London and diagnosed two cases of whooping cough in adults last winter.

Trudy - your son wasn't offered the vaccine 3 years ago because there wasn't an epidemic then. Also WC is included in the vaccine schedules but that only starts at 8 weeks and so your baby will have no protection for those 8 weeks and as the poster above points out even that first immunisation is not fully protective. Finally depending on other people getting the vaccine is foolish & selfish IMO.

LouiseD29 Mon 24-Jun-13 08:09:03

I had it last week (32 weeks). Made me feel dreadful for 24 hours but I'd have it again in a heartbeat if I needed to. Whooping cough cases suddenly increased last year which is why they've introduced the programme. I had whooping cough when I was a baby. It's a nasty, dangerous illness which put my poor mother through the most dreadful time as well as nearly killing me. I wouldn't want me or my baby to go through that, or to put other families at risk. Glad you are going for it, OP.

Sunnysummer Mon 24-Jun-13 08:25:28

My friend's baby DD died from whooping cough - she caught it before she was old enough to have had her own vaccination (and from a visitor who was not yet showing any symptoms, so it would not have been any good to just ban sick people from meeting the newborn). Despite getting immediate specialist care and being hospitalised, her cough progressed fast to pneumonia and just a few weeks later she died of multiple organ failure, with her parents watching helplessly from beside the NICU crib.

All this could almost certainly have been prevented if the mother had been vaccinated during pregnancy.

I'm not willing to take a definite risk on behalf of my child for the sake of a very uncertain and scientifically absolutely unverified risk of non-vaxxing. It's not a live vaccine, and it has been safely administered to many many thousands of women worldwide. If you have concerns, perhaps you discuss your exact circumstances with your GP or midwife? They will be best placed to advise your particular case, and much better advised than we strangers on the Internet.

knittingirl Mon 24-Jun-13 09:10:15

I had mine 2 weeks ago at 29 weeks. I didn't think twice about having it - I just couldn't contemplate the danger of whooping cough to a tiny baby.

fatandlumpy Mon 24-Jun-13 10:20:16

Had the vaccine. I live in an area with a lot of women who don't so the midwife was very tentative when she asked me if I wanted it. I told her I was a scientist and I will take any jab that's going as I'm not an idiot.

As for the woman who'd decided to rely on herd immunity.... not only is she a tadge selfish (yes - you are being...) she clearly has no clue how that works.

There is always a minimum threshold percentage of the population that has to have been vaccinated AND to have sero-converted (produce antibodies - as it's rare, but there will be a infinitesimal small percentage that won't mount an immune response to any vaccine). I think it's about 94% immunity is required for pertussis/whooping cough - a quick Google may confirm...

Anyhow - this is a theoretical number and can't really describe what could happen for non-homologous populations (clusters, or yummy-mummy cliques if you will).

Basically - unless you're prepared to read and to inwardly digest things like this


then just listen to the advice of the people are are paid to... but then again... it's your body and your baby and you have the right to make any decision you want... But, what you don't do is come on an internet forum and post unsubstantiated bullshit about things you don't understand properly.

ExhaustedMamasita Mon 24-Jun-13 11:21:23

Had my jab done at 28 weeks and other than a sore arm haven't had any problems whatsoever. Baby is kicking and pounding my insides as frequently as ever. I suggest you stop over analysing the pros and cons and just go for it! It'll only stress you out even more.

VinegarDrinker Mon 24-Jun-13 11:27:30

I had mine this morning. I'm a HCP and it was a no-brainer for me.

HJBeans Mon 24-Jun-13 11:41:17

I'm pretty sure the programme is still running, but I had to ask my MW about it as it wasn't mentioned to me outside of in a leaflet handed out at the booking appt.

I had it - it's been given safely in the US for a long time and the very well known benefits (protecting my child against a disease which is killing babies in the UK) for me outweighed any unknown risks.

I understand it's a personal decision for people to take as they see fit, but - speaking just for myself - I also feel there is a social responsibility aspect to taking vaccines when outbreaks prompt national programmes such as this one. Vaccines can only adequately protect populations if the majority of people take them. As no vaccine provides 100% protection for any one individual, diseases must be stopped en masse.

My mum had polio just before a vaccine for it became available and has lived with profound disability all her life because of it. So it's also an emotive subject for me when diseases which had been and can be conquered by vaccination programmes reappear in populations because of individual worries about safety which aren't backed up by evidence. But, again, this is just my very personal take on it.

AmberSocks Mon 24-Jun-13 11:59:33

I wont have it,and didnt have it last time,but then we dont do vaccines at all.

Even if i did other vaccines whooping cough isnt one i would do,its not very effective hence most cases of whooping cough happening in kids who are vaccinated.

noblegiraffe Mon 24-Jun-13 12:01:25

The majority cases of whooping cough in newborns were contracted from the mother, so vaccinating the mother offers double protection.

AmberSocks Mon 24-Jun-13 12:02:47

Plus my 3 older children and i have all had whooping cough so i am immune to it for life,and the baby will be til i stop bf which i imagine will be at least 18m to 2 yrs.my youngest is still bf so immune through that.

HJBeans Mon 24-Jun-13 12:15:41

I'm not arguing with your personal decision, AmberSocks, but for the sake of other women reading the thread I feel I have to point out that your understanding of immunity is wrong.

The following is from the Centre for Disease Control website at www.cdc.gov/pertussis/about/faqs.html
which has good, scientific advice about the whooping cough jab which also includes stats on rates of protection for individuals, decrease in infections over the population, etc.

Q: Do pertussis vaccines protect for a lifetime? If I've had whooping cough, do I still need a pertussis booster?

A: Getting sick with pertussis or getting pertussis vaccines doesn't provide lifelong protection, which means you can still get pertussis and pass it onto infants.

Pertussis vaccines are effective, but not perfect. They typically offer high levels of protection within the first 2 years of getting vaccinated, but then protection decreases over time. This is known as waning immunity. Similarly, natural infection may also only protect you for a few years.
In general, DTaP vaccines are 80-90% effective.

Among kids who get all 5 doses of DTaP on schedule, effectiveness is very high within the year following the 5th dose – at least 9 out of 10 kids are fully protected. There is a modest decrease in effectiveness in each following year. About 7 out of 10 kids are fully protected 5 years after getting their last dose of DTaP and the other 3 out of 10 kids are partially protected – protecting against serious disease.

noblegiraffe Mon 24-Jun-13 12:21:05

"Although infants who are breastfed are usually protected against most common childhood infections, they receive no protection against whooping cough. This is why early vaccination is recommended."


AmberSocks Mon 24-Jun-13 12:26:47


Thats ok,i dont agree witht hat link tbh,its not going to admit that having a disease makes you immune to it is it,because that would lose them money.

I am confident in my own decisions,just thought i would put a different view across,as it can be difficult to find anything other than pro vax opinions on mainstream forums.As i said mine have had whooping cough,so are you suggesting they are vaccinated against a disease they have had?

OP look into it yourself,the informed parent is good,mumsnet isnt really the best place for an unbiased opinion.

RoadToTuapeka Mon 24-Jun-13 12:29:54

I had the vaccine when it was offered when pregnant with DS2 in the UK. To my mind the risks of baby being exposed to whooping cough seriously outweighed any concerns about the vaccine.
dS2 is now 5 months & he & I are completely fine. The jab itself was fine, no side effects for me.
I now live in NZ & the advice here is for women to be vaccinated. They recommend vaccination here for anyone likely to be around very young babies, grandparents etc but I am not sure what the take up rate is for those groups. Seems sensible to me.

Virtually nothing is licensed to be used on pregnant women, because it's unethical to do the trials that would be required to get the licence.

I had whooping cough right at the end of my first pregnancy (although whooping stage didn't develop until after the birth) and passed it to newborn DS. It was shit. I'd had a c-section so just the physical coughing was really painful; I got basically no sleep at all (over and above the sleep you generally don't get with a newborn) because the coughing was worse at night; DS regularly turned blue when coughing, stopped breathing once in the middle of a coughing fit, and had to be admitted to hospital on extra oxygen with the alarms going off every twenty minutes because either his blood sats would drop or he'd kick off the sensors; the coughing would cause DS to projectile-vomit most of his feeds for weeks on end so I was bf round the clock and he put on no weight at all for over a month (on the plus side, I lost loads of weight because it was like bf twins and I had no time to eat). Both of us were ill for months and while DS is perfectly healthy, at 8 he is still the one out of my three DC who picks up a nasty-sounding lingering cough that goes on for ages after any cold or chest infection.

If you were my RL friend I'd strongly advise getting the vaccine. The wc vaccine is a bit iffy on whether it offers complete protection (although in most cases it does for the first couple of years, which is the most vulnerable time) but there's plenty of research to show that for several years after vaccination the severity of symptoms and length of illness are reduced.

noblegiraffe Mon 24-Jun-13 12:42:16

its not going to admit that having a disease makes you immune to it is it,because that would lose them money.

My MIL has had whooping cough twice, so it doesn't confer lifelong immunity. She was very keen that I had the vaccination.

HJBeans Mon 24-Jun-13 13:00:28

The excerpt above does state that both natural disease activity and the vaccine confer some level of immunity. However, due to waning levels of immunity as time passes - which again applies to both vaccines and natural cases of the illness - neither provides effective protection over many years. It's this lack of long-term protection for babies which are particularly vulnerable which has prompted the vaccine programme during the current outbreak. Immunity is not an on/off switch where you either are or aren't - it's about lower percentage risk as well as lower risk of severe illness.

I am strongly biased in favour of evidence-based medicine and believe the CDC - which is a public body tasked with protecting public health rather than a commercial organisation - is a good place to find information which is backed up by science.

parttimer79 Mon 24-Jun-13 15:58:01

I'm about to have the jab at 33 weeks. I have had the disease but my understanding is that any immunity I had from this will have decreased significantly now and that baby will have none at all.
I'm pro immunisation generally but did have pause to think about this purely due to the fact it has only recently been recommended. The evidence I read from NHS/CDC was enough to make me feel that immunisation was the best option.

Kayls93 Mon 24-Jun-13 17:28:40

My midwife said its exactly the same jab that babies are given at 8 weeks. If an 8week old can handle it then I'm sure I could...the pros definitely outweigh the cons!

janeyhig Mon 24-Jun-13 21:17:52

I'll be having my wc vaccination in a couple of weeks, no brainer for me. Would have flu jab too if it was the right season - have it every year anyway as am asthmatic. Just out of interest, other than the now-discredited MMR report, is there any evidence that non-live vaccinations pose any risk to anyone? I don't know of any.

Well, any risk to anyone yes, there's plenty of evidence. Any vaccination will produce a severe allergic reaction in a very small number of people given it -- you'll see that laid out in the manufacturer's monograph for any of the branded vaccines, along with other side-effects reported during the clinical trials. They tell you about that when you're having a vaccination at the GP's office and ask you to hang around for a few minutes just in case. The monograph will also list contra-indications for administration of the vaccine and make it clear which of those are precautionary and which have a solid evidence base.

Also under the Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme the government pays out to (on average) four people each year who have been able to produce medical evidence of serious disablement caused by the UK vaccination programme.

dontlaugh Tue 25-Jun-13 14:06:56

Amber socks, my baby was ebf and still caught whooping cough.

Linnielou5 Tue 25-Jun-13 15:22:47

I'm getting the vaccine, booked my appt yesterday!! xx

sheeplikessleep Tue 25-Jun-13 15:38:07

I'm 31 weeks and had the jab yesterday. After having (just) a chest infection a few weeks ago, the thought of a newborn contracting whooping cough makes me worry.

I have got a sore arm today.

parttimer79 Tue 25-Jun-13 19:48:28

sheep - have you had any side effects. I have mine tomorrow and then a really heavy work load for the next 2 days so if I react badly I'm stuffed!

sheeplikessleep Wed 26-Jun-13 16:53:11

Parttimer- I've got a swollen read hot patch on my arm and its very achy, but nothing else. Apart from general pregnancy exhaustion!!

I had a very sore arm for about three days but nothing else.

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