Craven and Wharfedale mums-to-be encouraged to have flu jab

vaccination

7:02am 16th December 2017

Doctors are offering free flu jabs to mums-to-be in Craven and Wharfedale.

Figures show that around half of pregnant women weren't vaccinated against flu last year, despite the increased risks they face by catching the virus.

Getting immunised against flu is the best way for expectant mums to protect themselves and their baby.

It's quick and safe for both mum and baby, and mums can have it at any stage of pregnancy.

Free flu jabs are available from midwives, GPs and local pharmacies.

Those who find out they're pregnant later in the winter flu season will still be eligible for the vaccination.

Studies have shown that pregnant women with some strains of flu are four times more likely to develop serious illnesses and four to five times more likely to be admitted to hospital than the general population.

The vaccination only lasts for a year, so expectant mums who had their jab last year or during a previous pregnancy will need another one.

Dr Anne Connolly

Dr Anne Connolly

Dr Anne Connolly, clinical lead for maternity and women's health at the Bradford City, Bradford District and Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven clinical commissioning groups, said: "Every year, we encourage those who are most at-risk to get their free flu vaccination. Mums-to-be could develop complications if they catch the virus; affecting both their health and the health of their unborn baby.

"Flu is an unpleasant illness that can result in expectant mums developing pneumonia, suffering a miscarriage, stillbirth and premature labour, and those who don't develop complications will find they're out of action for a couple of weeks; making life particularly hard for mums who have other young children to care for.

"I am aware of the concerns pregnant women have about the effect the flu vaccine could have on their unborn child, as well as the threat of catching the flu themselves. However, I want to reassure people that the seasonal flu vaccine is safe.

"As we've seen from reports over in Australia, an outbreak of flu can have a serious impact on the health of those with long-term conditions or who are vulnerable, like mums-to-be. Some people can have the flu, but not show any symptoms, so it's impossible to avoid catching it if you're around people who haven't been immunised, unless you've had the jab to protect yourself and your baby.

"If you don't have the jab, you also are at increased risk of passing the virus onto vulnerable friends or family members, particularly others who are pregnant, young children or those over the age of 65, or people who have a long-term health condition."

Mums should also get their two or three-year-old children vaccinated.

Free vaccinations for children in reception and years 1 to 4 should have taken place in school, but if your child hasn't been vaccinated there, you can take them to their GP or local pharmacy.

Anne added: "Flu is an unpleasant illness which can result in a stay in hospital. In severe cases, flu can be a killer. Don't take the risk - speak to your midwife or GP today to make sure you have a happy and healthy pregnancy by getting the jab and getting flu safe."

For more information, speak to your GP, midwife or local pharmacist, or visit www.nhs.uk

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