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Immunisation drive for pregnant women

Posted: 5 November 2012 by Rob Dabrowski

The Department of Health has today (5 November) launched its campaign to prepare the NHS for winter.

Flu vaccination

It aims to improve on last year’s vaccination rate, with a particular focus on immunisation for pregnant women.

The government is pumping £20m into the drive, which will be distributed to local authorities to help vulnerable people in their area. 

David Salisbury, director of immunistation, said: ‘You are 11 times more likely to die from flu if you are pregnant or have a serious health condition and each year thousands of people die after catching flu. 

‘That’s why we are reminding people who are particularly vulnerable to the consequences of flu to get the vaccine.’

In addition to the campaign, the Cold Weather Plan, jointly run with the Met Office and Health Protection Agency, advises people on how to stay healthy and supports local communities and professionals to better prepare for and respond to severe cold weather events.

Louise Silverton, RCM director for midwifery, said: ‘This campaign has our full support and backing and we welcome it.

‘Women must also be aware of the importance of having the seasonal flu vaccination as soon as they become pregnant. 

‘If any pregnant woman is unsure about this, I would urge them to speak to their midwife or doctor to discuss the issue. 

‘For women after their 28th week of pregnancy, they should ask for the pertussis vaccination when they visit the GP.’

Public health minister Anna Soubry said that the national campaign will build on the local ‘flu safe’ campaigns that have been running.

She added: ‘Our campaign aims to encourage people who are most at risk from flu, who have put it off or who don’t think it is important, to get the vaccine.

'If pregnant women are vaccinated, they not only protect themselves but also protect their newborn babies from catching flu.’