Pregnant women across the borough are being urged by Sefton Council, NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Southport and Formby CCG to make sure they get the flu jab this winter.
If you are pregnant, you are eligible for the flu vaccination free of charge. The flu jab is the safest way to protect you and your baby against flu. The flu vaccine reduces the risk of catching flu and of complications and potential harmful consequences for both mother and baby if you do catch the flu, such as premature birth and pneumonia. It also reduces the risk of your baby getting flu in the first few months of its life.
The flu vaccination is one of the most effective ways to reduce harm from flu as it reduces risk of serious illness, hospitalisation and even death among those who are most at risk – including expectant mothers.
Pregnancy naturally weakens the body’s immune system and as a result mothers may be less able to fight off infections, increasing the risk of becoming seriously ill as a result of flu.
Cllr Ian Moncur, Cabinet Member Health and Wellbeing, said: “Flu is a highly contagious illness that spreads rapidly. It can cause serious complications for at risk groups, such as expectant mothers and people with long term health conditions.
“The flu jab can be the last thing on people’s minds, especially expectant mums.
“However, while for many people flu is an unpleasant illness, for pregnant women it is extremely dangerous. My advice for anyone eligible for the free flu vaccination is to get it now before flu starts to circulate in the Sefton community.”
Laura Gibson, who works at the CCG’s in Sefton, said: “This is my first pregnancy and I think it’s so important to be vaccinated as it protects both me and my baby, It’s great that the NHS is offering the jab for free to pregnant women like me and that the vaccine is safe during any stage of pregnancy.”
Free flu vaccinations are being offered to all pregnant women, all children aged 2 to 4, residents of all ages with a long term health condition and everyone aged 65 and over. Most people who are eligible can get vaccinated at their local GP practice.
Dr Wendy Hewitt, clinical lead for children and maternity, NHS South Sefton CCG and NHS Southport and Formby CCG, added: “You can have the flu vaccine at any point in your pregnancy and not only is it safe for you and your baby, it’ll reduce your chances of becoming seriously ill as a result of flu from things like pneumonia, premature birth or even miscarriage.
“The added advantage is that your baby will continue to be protected from flu for the first few months of their life. Talk to your GP or midwife if you have any questions and they’ll be happy to help.”