All adults in households with newborn babies could be vaccinated against whooping cough to stem the rising tide of cases, the RCGP lead on immunisation has suggested.
According to the Health Protection Agency there were 1,614 cases of whooping cough reported in England and Wales, and in October, bringing the total of this year to 7,728.
Three babies have died of whooping cough in October – bringing the total number of death of infants under the age of one this year to 13. The total number of cases is ten times higher than the same period in 2008.
The HPA announced in September that all pregnant women would be offered whooping cough vaccination to protect their newborn babies.
RCGP immunisation lead Dr George Kassianos said these figures painted a worrying picture.
He said: ‘We are already providing the vaccine to mothers after 28 weeks of pregnancy, but we may want to consider immunising people in households of newborn babies; this could be the father, grandparents and all adults, living under the same roof.
‘Currently the vaccine is short lived, and we may have to extend the vaccination of school leavers, since the vaccine does not give them life-long immunity.”