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Pregnant woman left worried after being refused vaccination

PUBLISHED: 12:23 10 October 2012

A pregnant woman was turned away by her GP when she asked for a vaccination against whooping cough during her pregnancy.

Gabby Shiner-Hill, a patient at Bethnal Green Health Centre, has now been offered the jab, but had previously launched an online petition after she was told that her surgery had not been given authorisation to provide the vaccine by Tower Hamlets Primary Care Trust (PCT).

This is despite NHS guidelines being issued at the beginning of the month which said that all pregnant women between 28 and 38 weeks would be offered the vaccination. Gabby is now 38 weeks pregnant, and was left worried about missing the window for the jab.

Writing on her petition, which now has 88 signatures, she said: “I started the petition as I felt there was significant delay from the time the NHS issued their health warning to being able to access the vaccine.

“I’m 38 weeks pregnant and two people at my work have been diagnosed with whopping cough so as soon I heard the news I went to my local doctor’s surgery to get the vaccine.

“But the surgery said they hadn’t been given the authorisation to administer the vaccine by Tower Hamlets Primary Care Trust so they weren’t vaccinating anyone.”

Since launching the petition, Gabby has been told that her surgery has now started giving out the vaccination, with Tower Hamlets PCT now urging women to take advantage of the vaccinations being offered.

Dr Somen Banerjee, joint director of public health for the NHS in Tower Hamlets said: “We are pleased that so many mothers want to take advantage of this vaccine and regret any delay that people trying to get the vaccination during the last week may have experienced.

“We are strongly encouraging all pregnant women in Tower Hamlets to take advantage of the free vaccination.”

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