Pregnant women urged to have whooping cough vaccination

As cases of whooping cough (pertussis) rise in the Midlands, healthcare staff in Lincolnshire are urging mums-to-be to get the pertussis vaccination to help protect their newborn babies.

Since 2020 take-up of the pertussis vaccination which protects against the pertussis, or whooping cough infection, has decreased from around 68% of all expectant mums to just over 60%.

Whooping cough is a bacterial infection of the lungs and breathing tubes. It spreads very easily and can be very serious for babies and small children who are unvaccinated against it.

The first signs are similar to a cold – a runny nose and sore throat.

After about a week, you or your child will get coughing bouts that last for a few minutes and get worse at night and may develop into the ‘whoop’ sounds – a gasp for breath between coughs – that gives this infection its name. This video includes audio recordings of both a child and an adult with whooping cough. 

Jennie Clements, Lead Nurse, Health Protection, NHS Lincolnshire ICB, said:

“Whooping cough spreads very easily and we encourage everyone to take precautions against catching it.

“The best protection is for mums-to-be to have the vaccination as part of their check-ups in antenatal clinics or alternatively at their GP practice sometime between 16 and 32 weeks of pregnancy.

“The immunity mums get from the vaccine passes to the baby through the placenta and protects them until they are old enough to receive their own vaccination at 8 weeks old.”

Anyone who is pregnant is encouraged to speak to their midwife or antenatal care team to book a whooping cough vaccine. Babies should have their own vaccinations at 8, 12 and 16 weeks of age to build up their own protection, as well as pre-school boosters for children aged three years and four months.

You can also find more information about whooping cough and the vaccine at Whooping cough – NHS (