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Concerns pregnant women are not getting their flu protection

Pregnant women are being urged to get protection amid concern about low take-up of the vaccination this year.

Pregnancy seems to make women more susceptible to complications of flu infection and flu infection may make people more susceptible to complications form COVID.

Dr Paddy Hannigan, a GP and Chair of Stafford and Surrounds CCG said: “We would urge all expectant mums to get their flu vaccination to safeguard their own health and that of their baby.

“In previous years we have been able to hold vaccination sessions at GP surgeries before or after community antenatal clinics, which has made it easier for expectant mums to get their flu jabs but unfortunately that hasn’t been possible this year due to COVID-19 and the need to keep people safe. This may be part of the reason why numbers are slightly lower so far this year.”

Alison Budd Lead Midwife for the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Maternity and Neonatal Transformation Programmes aid: “We are worried that some women may just not want to visit clinical settings at this time. However I would like to reassure everyone that flu vaccination sessions have been made as safe as it is possible to be. If you are pregnant and you have not yet had your flu vaccination, please don’t delay and contact your GP surgery, local community pharmacy or antenatal clinic as soon as possible.”

“Flu can be really serious for both the mother and their baby. The vaccine is totally safe and can be given at any stage of pregnancy – from conception until delivery.”

Catching flu while pregnant can also cause other complications. These can include:

  • pneumonia, particularly in the later stages of pregnancy
  • miscarriage or having a baby born too soon or with a low birth weight

Alison Budd said: “The flu vaccine will help your baby continue to have some immunity against the flu for several months after being born and will reduce the chance of you passing the flu onto your baby.

“Even if you’ve had the flu vaccination before, it’s important to get it each year because the vaccine is made specifically to target the type of virus in circulation each year. If you are nearer the end of your pregnancy, you can also have the whooping cough vaccination at the same time.”