Flu vaccination in pregnancy
Flu vaccination is especially important for pregnant women as flu can cause serious complications during pregnancy, including pneumonia and heart and lung problems.
Pregnant women are about 10 times more likely to become so ill that they need to be admitted to hospital. The risk of complications (including miscarriage, premature labour and stillbirth) is highest during the latter stages of pregnancy. Sadly, some pregnant women have died as a result of swine flu infection.
Pregnant women are advised to get the flu vaccine as soon as possible, to help protect you and your baby.
Download our leaflet here: Flu is more serious than you think
Is the vaccine safe for my baby?
Yes. The flu vaccine is licensed for use at any stage in pregnancy by the European Medicines Agency.
A review of studies on the safety of flu vaccine in pregnancy concluded that inactivated flu vaccines can be safely and effectively administered dur
No study to date has demonstrated an increased risk of either maternal complications or adverse outcomes associated with inactivated flu vaccines.ing any trimester of pregnancy.
The vaccine has been used regularly for pregnant women in the UK and other countries. Millions of pregnant women have received seasonal flu vaccine in the USA, where its safety has been carefully monitored. This has shown the vaccine to be safe for your baby and you.
Are there any pregnant women who should not be vaccinated?
Most women with a serious allergy to hens’ eggs can now be given a flu vaccine, but you need to discuss this or any other serious allergies with your nurse or doctor.
The flu vaccine should not be given to people who had an anaphylactic reaction to a previous flu vaccine.
Does the vaccine cause any side effects in pregnant women?
Flu vaccinations are very safe. There are no specific side effects during pregnancy.
Pregnant women can suffer the same minor side effects as anyone else. You may get some soreness where the vaccine was injected.
Less often, people get a slight temperature and aching muscles for a couple of days after being vaccinated. Other reactions are very rare.
The flu vaccine cannot give you flu.
How does the vaccine work?
Around a week to 10 days after you get the flu vaccine, your body makes antibodies to the vaccine viruses.
These antibodies help protect you against any similar viruses you then come into contact with.
How effective is the vaccine?
Flu vaccinations only protect against flu. There are many other viruses around every winter that cause flu-like symptoms, but these are usually not as serious as flu.
A small number of people may get flu even if they have been vaccinated, but it’s likely to be a milder illness than if they had not been vaccinated.
When is the best time to be vaccinated for flu?
The flu vaccine becomes available around early October.
If you are pregnant, you should get vaccinated as early as possible so you and your baby are protected.
If you become pregnant later in the winter, you should get the vaccine as soon as you know you are pregnant.
I received a flu vaccine in the past, do I still need this vaccine?
Yes. Flu protection only lasts for one flu season, so it’s important to get vaccinated every year.
The vaccine available from this autumn protects against different strains of flu, so even if you were vaccinated as late as April 2016, you still need the new vaccine.
How do I get the vaccine?
Simply contact your GP surgery and the receptionist will be able to tell you the arrangements for flu vaccination in your practice.