Health bosses say jab figures are inaccurate

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The number of pregnant women living in Herts taking up the life-saving vaccine for whooping cough is below the national average.

But health bosses say the new figures, which cover the month of October, are not a true reflection of what is going on in the county because the jab only came on offer in this area from the second week of that month. The delay was due to the time it took to get staff trained up to provide the vaccine.

NHS Herts spokesman Scott Swinton said: “Anybody that came in asking for it, staff would make sure they got it.

“It was a case of having everything in place and saying: We are here, come and get the vaccine.

“The next figures will show a truer picture.”

It was announced at the end of September that all pregnant women would be offered the vaccination to protect their babies following a significant increase in the number of cases of whooping cough.

So far in 2012 the highly contagious bacterial infection of the lungs and airways has claimed the lives of 13 little ones and there have been more than 7,000 cases nationally.

In the whole of 2010 the figure only topped 1,000 cases.

Figures released this week show that 35.6 per cent of mums-to-be in Herts received the jab during October. The national picture is that almost half of the pregnant population – 43.6 per cent – have taken up the offer of the vaccine.

It is aimed at women between 28 and 38 weeks of their pregnancies and is on offer at antenatal clinics. Immunity is passed onto the unborn child.