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Whooping cough in Portugal kills two babies

Introducing the country’s new vaccination programme – which involves inoculating pregnant women against the whooping cough virus – health director general Francisco George explained that in 2015 two Portuguese babies died from the disease – one at 31 days old, the other at 36 days. Under the old programme, babies were only immunised against whooping cough at the age of two months.

Other changes include dropping the “universal tuberculosis vaccine” giving it only to the babies of families considered to be ‘at risk’, bringing the human papillomavirus (against cancer of the womb) to 10-year-old girls, not 14-year-olds (current practice) and the introduction of a new five-pronged vaccine for babies of two months old, immunising them against Hepatitis B, type B haemophilus influenzae, diphtheria, whooping cough and polio.

The new programme is to be introduced from January 2017.

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