East Devon pregnant women urged to get free flu jab

PUBLISHED: 12:19 10 November 2016

Photo credit: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

Photo credit: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

The NHS is urging pregnant women across East Devon to protect themselves and their unborn child by having the flu vaccination this winter.

Pregnant women have a seven times greater risk of dying from flu-related illness than non-pregnant women.

However, only 30 per cent of eligible women in the South West have so far received the vaccination this season.

NHS England South West consultant in public health, Dr Julie Yates, said: “All pregnant mums should make every effort to have the flu vaccination during their pregnancy.

“It’s important to recognise that significant risks exist to both mother and unborn child if they contract the flu virus.

“Complications are reduced by having a simple vaccination, and I would urge all pregnant women to have the free vaccination as soon as possible via their GP, pharmacy or local maternity service.

“The vaccine will offer protection to both mother and baby.”

Flu can make otherwise healthy people feel very poorly for up to a fortnight. There is also strong evidence that pregnant women have an increased risk of developing complications if they get flu, potentially harmful to mother and the unborn baby.

These risks include bronchitis, pneumonia and an increased risk of miscarriage, or the baby being born prematurely, or with a low birth weight.

The flu vaccination is not harmful and offers the best level of protection - studies show that the vaccine is safe during any stage of pregnancy, from the first few weeks right up to the expected due date.

If the flu vaccination is taken during pregnancy it will provide passive immunity against flu to the baby in the first few months of life.

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