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Bradford District and Craven mums-to-be encouraged to fight the flu with free vaccine

GPs from Bradford City, Bradford District and Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are encouraging pregnant women across Bradford District and Craven to protect themselves from flu. The free flu vaccination is being offered to every mum-to-be, to protect them and their unborn baby from the illness.

Figures show that last year around half of pregnant women across Bradford District and Craven were not vaccinated against flu, 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 babies against the virus. The jab is quick, free and safe for both mum and baby, and mums can have it at any stage of pregnancy. Newborns cannot be given the flu vaccine so expectant mums who do get immunised will ensure baby will be protected for their first few months too.

Free flu jabs are available from midwives, GPs and local pharmacies. Even those who find out they’re pregnant later in the winter flu season are still be eligible for the free vaccination.

Pregnant women are at increased risk of serious illness if they catch flu. In fact, studies have shown that pregnant women with some strains of flu are four times more likely to develop serious illness and four to five times more likely to be admitted to hospital than the general population.

The flu vaccine only lasts for a year, so expectant mums who had their jab last year or during a previous pregnancy will need another one to protect themselves and baby. The jab doesn’t contain the ‘live’ virus so it cannot give you the flu. It normally takes up to two weeks to develop protection after having the vaccine and protection lasts all winter.


Anne Connolly, clinical lead for maternity and women’s health at the CCGs 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 are 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 of 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 at your local GP. Free vaccinations for school children in reception and years 1 to 4 will be offered and take place in school.

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.”

You can watch a video of Anne Connolly’s advice on avoiding flu for mums-to-be below on the CCGs’ Facebook or YouTube page here

For more information, speak to your GP, midwife or local pharmacist, or visit NHS Choices

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