Importance of flu and whooping cough vaccination

Protect yourself, protect your baby; vaccinate against flu and whooping cough this winter

Local clinicians are encouraging expectant mothers in Hull to protect themselves and their baby against both flu and whooping cough by being vaccinated this winter.

Nationally 1 in 11 maternal deaths are attributed to flu and cases of whooping cough are on the rise. Worryingly the uptake of both vaccinations is low across Hull; putting women and babies at risk.

Dr Amy Oehring, local GP and clinical lead for the NHS Hull Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Maternity strategy, said:

“It is extremely important that all pregnant women consider both the flu and whooping cough vaccination, to protect themselves and their babies no matter which stage of pregnancy they are at.”

Expectant mothers can be vaccinated against whooping cough from 20 weeks, with the flu vaccination at any stage of pregnancy.

Being vaccinated protects expectant mothers from flu and whooping cough, and the complications illness in pregnancy can bring, it also means baby will be protected against both viruses from birth.

Dr Dan Roper, NHS Hull CCG Chair, said:

“Any illness during pregnancy can be more serious and result in complications. Being vaccinated will protect you and your baby, who will be born with immunity to flu and whooping cough.”

Both flu and whooping cough can be dangerous for new-borns, with whooping cough often leading to hospital admission. Vaccinating during pregnancy is the most effective, and only way, of protecting your baby against either of these illnesses.

Dr Oehring added: “I urge you to give being vaccinated serious consideration.”

Both vaccinations are available for free and can be received from your GP practice, with the flu vaccination also available from local pharmacies.

The flu vaccination is available between September and February each year; pregnant women are encouraged to get the vaccination every year, regardless of whether or not they have had it before.

The whooping cough vaccination can only be administered at the GP practice, but is available all-year-round. Expectant mothers must be vaccinated during every pregnancy.

To find out more about pregnancy health visit: www.hullccg.nhs.uk/pages/pregnancy-health

 

 

Notes to Editors:

  • Whooping cough, known medically as pertussis, is a serious infection that causes long bouts of coughing and sickness.
  • Babies and young children are particularly at risk of whooping cough, and the complications surrounding this; when severe, it can lead to death.
  • Published research from the UK vaccination programme shows that vaccinating pregnant women against whooping cough has been highly effective in protecting young babies until they can have their first vaccination when they are two months old. ¹
  • Babies born to women vaccinated at least a week before birth had a 91% reduced risk of becoming ill with whooping cough in their first weeks of life, compared to babies whose mothers had not been vaccinated. ¹
  • An additional benefit is that the protection the mother receives from the vaccination will lower her own risk of infection and of passing whooping cough on to her baby. ¹
  • There is good evidence that pregnant women have a higher chance of developing complications if they get flu, particularly in the later stages of pregnancy, such as pneumonia. ²
  • Both flu and whooping cough vaccinations are safe in pregnancy, and can be given at the same time, however, it is important that expectant mothers do not delay their flu jab to have the two at the same time.

 

1 Information from: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/whooping-cough-vaccination-pregnant.aspx
2 Information from: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/flu-jab-vaccine-pregnant.aspx
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