NHS Milton Keynes issues flu jab reminder for pregnant women

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The NHS in Milton Keynes is reminding pregnant women of the importance of having the flu jab. The NHS’s flu vaccine is effective against the “Aussie flu” so health leaders are encouraging pregnant women to protect themselves and their unborn babies.

Figures are showing that uptake of the flu vaccination in pregnant women is not what is expected to give required immunity to pregnant women and vaccination rates have gone down this season.

If you are pregnant and have not had your vaccination yet, then you still have time to get your free vaccination to protect your unborn child and yourself. Having a vaccination during pregnancy can also help to protect your baby against the flu for several months after they are born, which is important as babies cannot be vaccinated before six months old.

It is important because the flu can affect your unborn child, potentially leading to miscarriage, prematurity, decreased growth (intrauterine growth retardation), low birth weight and even stillbirth.

Additionally, the flu can affect you and can cause serious complications such as: severe pneumonia, bronchitis, meningitis, brain infection, sepsis, worsening of existing medical conditions and can even lead to death.

The vaccination can be given at any stage of pregnancy and the inactivated vaccination is not known to have harmful effects to your foetus (National Flu Programme 2017/2018).

The flu vaccination does not give you the flu. The vaccination is available from now until the end of January. Call your GP or visit your local pharmacy to receive a vaccination!

Dr Nicola Smith GP and chair of NHS Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group said: “The flu vaccination is the best protection against flu. It’s 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 mother or baby. Women who have had the flu vaccine while pregnant also pass some protection on to their babies.”

“The complications of flu can be severe during pregnancy so even if you had a vaccine last year, you should have it again this year as the virus changes and you want to ensure you and your baby are protected.”

For more information about flu and the flu vaccination please visit the NHS choices website:

https://www.nhs.uk