DSRU urges uptake of vaccination amid steep rise in UK whooping cough cases

16 May 2024

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has published data showing a continued increase in monthly cases of whooping cough in the UK. The UKHSA reminded parents that vaccination is the best protection against the disease and urged pregnant women and parents of babies to ensure that the vaccine is received on time. 

Responding to the recent data from UKHSA, Professor Saad Shakir, Director of the DSRU, said:

“The whooping cough vaccine is a well-established and effective vaccine. Like all authorised medicines and vaccines, the vaccine was subject to rigorous evaluation of its quality, safety and efficacy before it was authorised in the UK. 

The current rates of whooping cough are highest in babies under 3 months old and the risk of severe complications and death from whooping cough is highest in young infants. Pregnant women who receive the vaccine pass immunity to their babies, so that babies are protected until they are old enough to receive vaccinations themselves from 8 weeks. 

While people of any age can contract whooping cough, it can be extremely serious in very young babies. Very sadly, five babies have already died from whooping cough since the start of 2024. We join other experts in the field and recommend that pregnant women and parents of babies ensure that this safe and effective vaccine is received according to the NHS guidelines.”