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Vaccination gives protection for pregnant women and their unborn babies

Winter wellbeing

09 October 2023

A pregnant woman holding her belly with text that reads: Get vaccinated. Get winter strong. Getting the flu vaccine will mean you are less likely to catch flu and pass it on to your baby

Pregnant women, and their unborn babies, are at a higher risk of complications and more severe symptoms such as pneumonia, as the immune system naturally weakens during pregnancy. Pregnant women are also more likely to be admitted to hospital due to flu than the general population.

In 2022 – 2023 around 64% of those who were pregnant in Northamptonshire did not take up the Flu vaccination increasing the likeliness of them catching flu. This year, Public Health teams at West and North Northamptonshire Councils and the NHS in Northamptonshire are encouraging pregnant women to get vaccinated as soon as they can.

We are already starting to see an increase in respiratory infections within the community and with the cold weather coming in there will be more mixing and movement indoors which will lead to an increase in the spread of Flu. It is therefore important that those who are pregnant get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Getting the flu vaccination not only protects you, but also your unborn baby and can prevent serious health problems from occurring from catching the flu. Flu can have serious complications for pregnant people and there is good evidence that pregnant people have a higher chance of developing complications if they get flu, particularly in the later stages of pregnancy. Please do speak to your midwife or GP practice about how you can get your flu vaccination.Mara Tonks, Director of Midwifery at Kettering General Hospital NHS Trust
The flu vaccination is safe during any stage of pregnancy from the first few weeks through to the woman’s due date and doesn’t carry any risks for baby or mother. The vaccine administered is not a live vaccine and contrary to popular belief, it does not give you flu. Having this vaccination during pregnancy can help protect your baby for several months after they are born, which is important as babies cannot be vaccinated before six months. The flu vaccine can also safely be given to pregnant women at the same time as the whooping cough vaccine.Clare Flower, Head of Midwifery at Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust

It is also encouraged that those who are pregnant have their COVID-19 vaccination which can be given at any point during pregnancy and can be safely administered at the same time as the flu vaccination without any vaccine interaction.

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