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Whooping Cough (Immunisation)

Volume 13: debated on Monday 23 November 1981

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether, in his efforts to increase the proportion of infants immunised against pertussis—whooping cough—he will ensure that the facts relating to the possibility of febrile and convulsive reactions, together with the remote possibility of permanent brain damage as a direct result of the immunisation are made fully available to the parents, with further advice to consult their own family practitioner well in advance, if necessary.

The joint committee on vaccination and immunisation has now revised the list of contra-indications and this will be issued shortly. I will be writing to health authorities to encourage them to mount local campaigns to increase the uptake of whooping cough vaccination and will draw their attention both to the revised list of contraindications and to the latest Health Education Council leaflet on immunisation. This sets out the facts about whooping cough vaccine and the disease itself in simple terms, describes the side effects of the vaccine, lists questions parents should ask themselves before taking their babies to be immunised, and refers to medical advice.