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More pregnant women urged to take up flu vaccine

16 November, 2015

More pregnant women urged to take up flu vaccine

The RCM and the RCOG are encouraging more pregnant women to come forward for the free flu vaccine this winter.

Despite figures showing that 36 pregnant women died from certain strains of flu in the UK and Ireland between 2009 and 2012 (accounting for 1 in 11 of all maternal deaths during this period), just four in 10 pregnant women accepted the flu vaccination offer last winter.

RCM director for midwifery Louise Silverton said: ‘If caught, flu can be very, very serious for the mother and baby. The vaccine is effective for many people and it is certainly more effective than not having the vaccine.

‘We strongly recommend that pregnant women have the flu vaccination to protect themselves and their baby from the effects of flu. We also urge midwives and other health professionals to have the vaccination to protect themselves, their family and the people they care for from the infection also.

‘If women have any concerns about the vaccine, we advise them to speak to their midwife or doctor to discuss the issue.’

RCOG spokesperson Dr Patrick O’Brien said: ‘Any viral infection, including seasonal flu, can cause harm to a mother and baby during pregnancy. It can also be serious for newborn babies if they catch the infection from their mothers.

‘Some women may be concerned that getting vaccinated during pregnancy might harm their baby but we want to reassure them that flu vaccination is safe, effective and can be given at any stage of pregnancy. 

‘Having the flu vaccine will also protect your baby during the first few months after birth. We strongly encourage pregnant women who haven’t had the vaccine yet, to contact their GP or midwife today.’

Read more on flu vaccination here.

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