Published Friday, 28 September 2012
Pregnant women will be offered the vaccine from Monday. (© Getty)
Ten infants under the age of three months have died as a result of the infectious disease this year- one in Northern Ireland and nine in England.
In the first half of this year, cases were four times more than the total figure for 2011 in England and Wales.
Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies, the Government's principal medical adviser, said that mothers-to-be will be offered the vaccination to protect their newborn babies.
From Monday, women across the UK who are between 28 and 38 weeks pregnant will be offered the vaccination.
Youngsters cannot receive the jab until they are two months old.
Professor Davies advises that vaccinating mothers before they are born will boost their immunity until they reach the age they can get the injection themselves.
"The idea is, because very young babies can't make an immune response - an antibody against the vaccine - we are going to give this vaccine to the mothers so they make an antibody against it which will travel across the placenta into the baby," she said.
"This will protect the baby from whooping cough up to the time of the first immunisation at eight weeks."
Increases in whooping cough are usually seen every three to four years. The last rise in the number of confirmed cases was recorded in 2008.
The largest number of cases have been in those over the age of 15 but there has also been a sharp rise in whooping cough in babies aged under three months.