Cases of whooping cough are increasing throughout Shropshire, and the NHS are urging pregnant women to come forward for the vaccine.

The escalation in infections is occurring across Shropshire and given the risk to babies who are too young for vaccinations, expectant mothers are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated.

Whooping cough, officially known as pertussis, is a bacterial infection affecting the lungs and respiratory system.

Highly infectious, it can result in grave complications for infants and toddlers.

Pregnant women are typically offered the vaccine between weeks 16 and 32 of their pregnancy.

The vaccine is particularly effective in safeguarding newborns against whooping cough during their first weeks of life.

This immunity is transferred from mother to child via the placenta, offering them passive protection until they reach the age recommended for routine vaccination against pertussis, at 8 weeks old.

However, even if an expectant mother hasn't yet been vaccinated, it isn't too late.

The vaccination can be administered right until labour starts, you just need to ask your midwife or GP.

Furthermore, if any child hasn't received the 6-in-1 combination vaccine, which protects against Diphtheria, Hepatitis B, Hib, Polio, Tetanus and Whooping Cough, parents are urged to contact a GP surgery to schedule an appointment.

Children can still receive the 6-in-1 vaccine up until they're 10 years old.

Vanessa Whatley, chief nursing officer for the NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Integrated Care Board, said: "One of the best ways to protect our children is by making sure they have all their vaccinations.

"Getting vaccinated while you’re pregnant is highly effective in protection your baby from developing whooping cough in the first few weeks of their life.

"I urge all pregnant women to get the whooping cough vaccine to protect their children from this easily spreadable bacterial infection.

"The immunity you get from the vaccine will pass to your baby through the placenta and provide protection for them until they are old enough to be routinely vaccinated against whooping cough at eight weeks old.

"Vaccination remains the very best protection for babies and children from becoming unwell with whooping cough.

"So, if you are pregnant and have not been vaccinated, or if your child hasn’t yet had the 6-in-1 combination vaccine, please come forward as soon as you can."

She added: "It’s important that vaccines are given on time for the best protection, but if your child has missed a vaccine, it’s not too late – contact your GP to catch up.

"Please don’t delay it."

Additional details about the whooping cough and 6-in-1 vaccines can be found on the NHS website.