Health leaders across the Lancashire and South Cumbria are encouraging pregnant women to get their free flu vaccination as soon as possible to protect themselves and their babies.
Each year, flu kills on average 11,000 people and hospitalises thousands more. It’s not ‘just’ flu. This year it is even more important people who are most at risk of flu have their free flu vaccination. All clinics will run in line with infection prevention control and social distancing measures will be in place ensuring the safety of both mum-to-be and baby.
Pregnancy naturally weakens the body’s immune system and as a result, flu can cause serious complications which include premature birth or the baby having a low birth weight.
Flu is a highly infectious disease that is spread from person to person and infects the respiratory system, where it can lead to pneumonia and other complications. The flu vaccination in pregnancy gives mums and their unborn babies the very best protection from the dangers of flu.
The symptoms, that come on very quickly, include fever, chills, headaches, aches and pains in the joints and muscles, and extreme tiredness. The best way to avoid getting the flu is by having the vaccination. Doing so reduces the risk of developing the illness significantly.
The free vaccine is available from GP surgeries and maternity services. Due to Covid-19, staff will be giving the vaccine wearing protective equipment and all the necessary measures will be in place to make sure the flu jab is given in a safe environment.
Vanessa Wilson, Programme Director – Women’s and Children’s Services and Senior Responsible Officer for the Lancashire and South Cumbria Local Maternity Service, said:
“It is never too late to have your flu vaccine, you can have it at any stage in your pregnancy. As well as protecting you from catching the flu, it will also protect your baby for the first few months of their life.”
Claire Matthews, North West Regional Chief Midwife for NHS England and Improvement said:
“There is strong evidence that pregnant women have a higher risk of serious illness as a result of flu compared with the general population.
“The flu vaccination is a safe way of protecting pregnant women from flu and in pregnancy flu antibodies are transferred through the placenta to the baby, which gives the baby some protection against it for the first few months of life.
“Pregnant women are a priority group for a free flu vaccination, so if you are expecting a baby, please speak to your GP practice, local pharmacist or maternity provider as soon as you can.”