Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you have any medical concerns we suggest you consult your GP.

Whooping cough vaccine while pregnant, worrying?

(123 Posts)
Keznel Tue 21-May-13 22:19:05

Just wondering if anyone else feeling reluctant to get the whooping cough vaccination now recommended for 28-38wks pregnant? I'm currently 20wks and really concerned about getting it, but guess I have plenty of time to make my mind up yet confused. I had DD in the peak of a whooping cough epidemic back (last year) when it wasn't offered to pregnant women! She thankfully was fine and got her own vaccinations at 8wks etc Just wondering if I'm alone in stressing about this? Or should I just do as I'm told and get it?

Lollypop1983 Tue 21-May-13 22:21:44

I was worried about getting vaccine, but got both whooping cough, and flu vaccine, and now have a healthy 7 week old boy

healthfreakanna Thu 23-May-13 18:57:28

Hi
I'm currently trying to decide whether to have the whooping vaccine whilst pregnant too!
I have a written a blog post to help me get all the facts down and help me to decide:
www.ramblingsofahealthfreak.com/2013/05/whooping-cough-vaccine-during-pregnancy.html

I've got a few weeks yet before I need to make up my mind.

It seems that tetanus and diptheria are known to be safe vaccines in pregnancy, and the polio vaccine is thought to be safe, however the pertussis vaccine in pregnancy remains untested.
In the short term a pertussis vaccine in pregnancy program has been ongoing in the USA for almost 2 years now and several months here in the UK, so you would hope that if there had been serious adverse events that these programs would have been halted before now.

There is an issue of the efficacy of the vaccine used in this way and also of blunting the effects of the 8 week vaccinations, however it is deemed that these far outweigh the benefits of possible protection in these first few weeks of life.

Circaea Thu 23-May-13 19:19:22

From my perspective the risk of not having it is too large, given the current high incidence of whooping cough and the very real danger of it killing an unvaccinated baby (I'm weighing up risk of death against risk of less serious complications, with a relatively low probability for both but one outcome so much worse). So I'm going to have it.

And I read this, which I know is the emotional rather than rational side of the argument, but it terrified me.

LittleJack15 Fri 24-May-13 09:42:23

I had whooping cough vaccine and now have a lovely 10 week old boy.
smilesmile

badguider Fri 24-May-13 09:46:59

I will be having it. All medical proceedures and medicines are the balance of risk against benefit. The consequences of WC to a newborn is huge, and the likelihood of catching it at the moment is not negligible.

On the other hand, I didn't bother with a flu jab as the consequences of flu in an otherwise healthy pregnant woman are not that awful and the likelihood of me catching it is low (I have had flu once in my life).

badguider Fri 24-May-13 09:53:01

Also, although the vaccine is 'untested' on pregnant women to generate antibodies for the baby in utero, there are no known contraindications or reasons why there should be any danger. The vaccine is given to very young babies anyway.
The vaccine will remain 'untested' until a large number of women have it, and while I wouldn't agree to be a tester if there was no risk of my newborn catching WC or if there was an alternative way to minimise the risk of WC but there's not. It's this or nothing. And I know what the consequences of nothing can be. And it's worse than any reported consequence of this.

Keznel Sat 25-May-13 22:23:24

I hear what you are all saying and reading all comments certainly sways me in the direction of having it. But, the risk of a new born getting whooping cough comes from adolescents and adults (whose immunity from vaccination has run out), other babies and children will have been vaccinated well any coming into contact with my new born will have been! So surely if I ask anyone displaying symptoms to stay away until the baby has had it's own vaccinations. Plus whooping cough epidemic seems to go in 3-4 yearly cycles, last year being a peak year so in theory it shouldn't be as prevelant this year? Also I dunno if the whooping cough vaccine contains thimerosal (mercury) or not, have tried searching for info on this but haven't come up with much.

bigkidsdidit Sat 25-May-13 22:26:43

it is very prevalent this year.

the vaccine has been given to pregnant women in the states for a while with no problems.

bigkidsdidit Sat 25-May-13 22:28:28

I had it, btw, 8 weeks ago. It;s just too big a risk not to.

noblegiraffe Sat 25-May-13 22:30:10

No, it doesn't contain mercury.

It will also protect you against whooping cough. What if you were to get it? You wouldn't want to have to stay away from your own baby.

redwellybluewelly Sat 25-May-13 22:34:33

I have a daughter at pre school, she is fully vaccinated but not all of her peers are. Its about community immunity and I think the current risk is higher than it has been, hence I had the WC vaccine. Especially as WC has hospitalised several newborns in our area in the last year.

I didn't have the flu vaccine this time, nor the swine flu vaccine last time. I felt the body of evidence to show increased risk of infection and also evidence base of the WC vaccine being safe combined to reduce my concerns.

Sidge Sat 25-May-13 22:35:04

The vaccine offered to pregnant women is Repevax

It does not contain thiomersal.

Keznel Sat 25-May-13 22:36:20

I honestly don't think it is prevelant where I live I work in health care and have done for 13years, I have yet to come into contact with anyone (professionally or personally) who has had whooping cough. I still have plenty of time to decide and am still very much on the fence at the moment. I will see my consultant at 24weeks and will quiz her about it in great detail!

redwellybluewelly Sat 25-May-13 22:52:48

You can only make the decisions based on the information you have at the time.if its the right decision for you then that's that.

I made a decision once, it almost cost my DD her life, I will carry the guilt until the end of my days and yet looking back I made the decision I felt was right at that time with the knowledge I had

sjuperyoni Sat 25-May-13 23:07:18

I've had my flu jab at 8 weeks when confirming the pregnancy eith doc, she offered to do it then or wait for the midwife appt i didn't see the point in putting it off.

I'll be getting my whooping cough vaccine soon it's just too dangerous not too imo.

Keznel Sun 26-May-13 07:27:21

I totally understand the point of view that getting the vaccine is a no-brainer. However, I'm one of those people who doesn't dye my hair, use fake tan, aerosols, and certainly don't entertain any medication of any sort when pregnant! I do know a lot of people who carry on while pregnant as they did pre pregnancy, but not me. I do not like the thoughts of taking a vaccine that is in its infancy in use in pregnant women, no one knows for sure the long term side effects to the baby as it hasn't been used for long enough! I feel like I'm being experimented on sad. I get that the majority of responses say get it, I guess I'll remain, with my doubts, in the minority for another while yet.

noblegiraffe Sun 26-May-13 09:27:32

But it's nothing like fake tan confused the vaccine is for your baby's benefit, to try to stop them dying of whooping cough before they are old enough to be fully vaccinated themselves. To compare it to dyeing your hair is just silly.

The reason the vaccine has been introduced in pregnancy is because babies have been dying, and the health agencies are trying to stop that happening.

Keznel Sun 26-May-13 15:46:42

I'm not comparing it to dying my hair! Thankfully I am not that naive, as I work in health care I have a good basis of medical knowledge, I feel there are many cons to getting the injection as well as pros read healthfreakanna's blog in pp. I am reluctant to introduce chemicals and viruses into my body! I have back problems but stopped all meds the minute I knew I was pregnant. No one can give me a 100% gaurantee that it will not have any short term, or long term affects on my baby, so forgive me for not rushing to get it without some thought and research first! There are also no gaurantees that it will give the baby 100% immunity or that that immunity (if any) will last for the 8weeks that it is required. I want to do what's best for my baby I am not worried about myself in any shape or form I would walk over hot coals if I was given enough evidence to say its good for the baby!

Keznel Sun 26-May-13 21:03:23

Reading a wee bit more thought I'd share some facts of what the vaccine Repevax contains. It is not just whooping cough it contains a total of 7 diseases diptheria, tetanus, 3 types of polio, and 2 types of whooping cough. it also contains: Phenoxyethanol, Polysorbate 80, aluminium phosphate, formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, streptomycin, neomycin, polymyxin B and bovine serum albumin. Scary list that of course is present in most vaccines. The one that worry me most on that list for potential harm to my baby is aluminium. Little research has been done into its effects but its know to be toxic to the brain and central nervous system. And finally a little comment from the vaccines manufacturers “The effect of REPEVAX on embryo-foetal development has not been assessed. [...] The use of this combined vaccine is not recommended during pregnancy.”

noblegiraffe Sun 26-May-13 21:23:50

Aluminium is in most food too!

Vaccine manufacturers saying it's not recommended for use during pregnancy just means that clinical trials haven't been conducted on pregnant women, not that there's actually any evidence of adverse effects.

Tabitha8 Sun 26-May-13 21:32:57

Surely if a pg lady asks for a WC vaccine, that is what she will get? Not a jab against polio, etc, etc, as well?

Presumably, there is no evidence of any adverse effects as it hasn't actually been tested for the set of circumstances now being discussed?

Tabitha8 Sun 26-May-13 21:38:11

Incidentally, there was an entire thread devoted to aluminium and how the body deals with it in different ways, depending on whether or not it is injected or ingested.

Keznel Sun 26-May-13 22:13:14

Repevax is what is currently being used in the UK so no you cannot get a single whooping cough vaccine unless maybe it's sourced privately, not sure on this. Offering a single vaccine is simply not cost effective so you get 9 antigens total whether you want them or not! Yes it's the injected aluminium I'm concerned about not what's ingested, and passing to my developing baby. There is a reason why these things aren't tested on developing human fetuses! Until now that is! Although a whooping cough vaccine has been given to women in the USA for a few years now it is a different vaccine to what's offered in the UK therefore not comparable.

Littleolivetree Sun 26-May-13 22:18:01

I would rather not risk my child dying.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now