THE take-up of whooping cough vaccine by pregnant women in Wirral is well above the national average.

Fourteen infants died in England as a result of whooping cough last year.

National figures show that 55% of pregnant women were vaccinated against the threat.

In the North West that figure rose to 66.2% of pregnant women.

And in Wirral 68 from 102 pregnant women with an estimated date of delivery within the survey month took the vaccine – representing a 67.8 percentage.

Professor David Salisbury, national director of immunisation, said: "I'm pleased that nationally more than half of pregnant women took up the offer of the whooping cough vaccine in December.

"But I would urge more women in the North West to get it to protect their babies.

"Whooping cough is highly contagious and infants are particularly vulnerable.

"In England 14 infants died as a result of whooping cough in 2012 and there were 429 cases of the disease in children under three months old.

"It's vital that babies are protected from the day they are born – that’s why we are encouraging all pregnant women to be vaccinated."