Free flu vaccine for pregnant women

Pregnant women in the Black Country are being reminded that it’s not too late to come forward for a free flu vaccine.

Pregnancy weakens the body’s immune system which means pregnant women are at greater risk of serious flu-related complications, including early labour, low birth weight and even still birth.

The flu vaccine can be given at any stage of pregnancy and health chiefs in the Black Country would like to see as many pregnant women as possible come forward to get protected against the flu. Sunita Banga, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Lead Midwife at The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, said:

“Flu is highly infectious with symptoms such as fever, chills, aches and pains in the joints and muscles, headaches and extreme tiredness. It is more serious in pregnancy because the immune system is naturally weakened, making pregnant women less able to fight off infections.

“As your baby grows, you may be unable to breathe as deeply, increasing the risk of infections such as pneumonia. These changes can increase the risk of flu for pregnant women, especially during late pregnancy.

“Having the flu vaccine is the best way to stay protected against the virus. Women who have the flu vaccine while pregnant also pass some protection on to their babies, which lasts for the first few months of their lives.”

The flu vaccination is available every year, free on the NHS, to help protect people at risk of flu and its complications. Sally Roberts, Chief Nursing Officer for the NHS Black Country Integrated Care Board added:

“The flu vaccine is the best way to stay protected against the flu, which is particularly important if you’re pregnant.
“The vaccine works by teaching your body’s immune system how to protect itself from the disease. It contains no live viruses and cannot give you flu and is safe for you and your baby at any stage of pregnancy.

“If you’ve been pregnant before, remember that a healthy flu-free pregnancy last time is no guarantee you won’t catch flu this time. If you are pregnant, you are eligible for a free flu vaccination to protect both you and your baby against the flu virus, so please do come forward as soon as you can.”

For more information on the flu jab in pregnancy, visit the NHS website. Those eligible may also be contacted by their GP practice to book an appointment.

Alternatively, vaccinations can be booked at a local pharmacy via the National Booking System.


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