Whooping Cough Vaccine Recommended for Pregnant Women

Vaccination in later part of pregnancy helps babies, doctor says

Doctors are urging pregnant women to get vaccinated against whooping cough.

In Tarrant County alone, there has been a spike in cases in the last few months. As of Oct. 1, 104 infants have had whooping cough. Of those, 37 have been hospitalized.

"We have seen a lot of infants with coughing spells, and they're being hospitalized," said Dr. Donald Murphey at Cook Children's Medical Center.

It helps babies when expecting mothers get the shot in the later part of the pregnancy, he said.

"They will make antibody and pass it to their baby, and we think that's the best way to prevent babies from getting sick," he said.

Michelle Fredrickson's 4-month-old daughter, Bailey, was hospitalized last month after being diagnosed with whooping cough.

"She was choking, and her face turned blue," she said. "Her eyes rolled back in her head, and I had to start cleaning her mouth out and flip her over and start hitting her back so she could breathe again."

Bailey was treated at Cook Children's and is now home.

Whooping cough is contagious. Fredrickson, her husband and 4-year-old son all have it. Despite having been treated, the illness can last up to 100 days. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the illness is sometimes called the "100-day cough."

Murphey said he believes part of the reason for a spike in whooping cough cases is because the vaccine out now isn't as effective after several years.

"The vaccine now doesn't give protection from whooping cough for as many years as it used to," he said. "It is the best vaccine that we have, it does work, and it does protect people, but doesn't protect them for a long time."

It is why he is also urging adults who plan to be around infants a lot to get the vaccine as well.

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