HEALTH bosses are encouraging all pregnant women to get their free flu jab before the flu virus starts circulating.
The three Worcestershire Clinical Commissioning Groups – NHS Redditch and Bromsgrove, NHS South Worcestershire and NHS Wyre Forest – say the vaccination is the best protection against the virus.
Doctors say flu can cause complications during pregnancy, particularly in the later stages, such as premature births or low birth weights and they say getting the free flu vaccination helps to keep both mum and baby safe.
Dr Carl Ellson from the three Worcestershire CCGs, said: “I would urge anyone who is pregnant to get the flu vaccination as soon as possible.
“During pregnancy, a woman’s immune system is naturally lower to ensure that the pregnancy is successful.
“As a result, pregnant women are less able to fight off infections and therefore more likely to be seriously ill if they contract the flu virus.
“The flu vaccination is the best protection against flu. It’s safe during any stage in pregnancy, from the first few weeks through to the woman’s due date and doesn’t carry any risks for mother or baby.
“Women who have had the flu vaccine while pregnant also pass some protection on to their babies, which lasts for the first few months of their lives.”
Even if people have had the flu jab before, it’s important to get it again as the virus changes every year, so the vaccine changes too.
Mums to be can ask their midwife, GP or pharmacist about getting the jab.
Other at risk groups who should protect themselves against flu this winter are: People aged over 65, those with underlying health conditions such as a heart complaint, lung disease or asthma, liver disease or have suffered a stroke, and young children aged two to nine.
For more information visit www.nhs.uk/fluvaccine .