Partners' news: pregnant women encouraged to get flu vaccination
Monday 9th November 2020
Pregnant women in Sheffield are being encouraged to have their flu vaccination to protect them and their baby from the virus.
Data shows that the uptake of the vaccination by pregnant women in Sheffield is lower than expected and NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Sheffield City Council are reminding people of the importance of having the vaccination.
Pregnancy naturally weakens the body’s immune system and flu can cause serious complications for pregnant women and their babies. They may be less able to fight off infections, increasing the risk of becoming seriously ill because of flu.
Dr Anthony Gore, GP and Clinical Director for Children’s, Young People and Maternity at NHS Sheffield CCG, said: “It is safe for pregnant women to have their flu vaccination at any stage of pregnancy and it is the safest way to protect women and their babies from the complications of flu. If you are pregnant you can get your vaccination from your GP, midwife or at some pharmacies. If you’ve not had your vaccination yet, contact your GP or ask at your next midwife or hospital appointment.”
GP practices and hospitals have processes and precautions in place to ensure patients are as safe as possible when attending for their vaccination, including the use of PPE and limiting the number of people patients come in to contact with.
As covid-19 is circulating with flu, protecting those at high risk of flu, who are also those most vulnerable to hospitalisation as a result of covid-19, is vitally important. If someone gets flu and covid at the same time, research shows they’re more likely to be seriously ill.
Other groups of people who are eligible for a free vaccination includes; children aged two to school year 7, all ages with underlying/long term conditions, pregnant women, over 65s , health and care staff, people with learning disabilities and carers.
Greg Fell, Director of Public Health at Sheffield City Council, said: “This year it is especially important that as many people as possible access the ‘flu vaccine as soon as they can. Currently we have both the flu virus and Covid-19 in circulation, which makes immunisation more important than ever in helping to reduce infections to protect each other, our families, our communities and ultimately, save lives."
Dr Gore added: “Aside from having your flu vaccine, the best way to prevent the spread of flu is to practice good hand hygiene. Wash your hands regularly, avoid touching your face with unclean hands, cough or sneeze in to a tissue or in to the crook of your arm – remember to throw the tissue away after and avoid contact with people who are ill. Following the covid-19 rules of staying at least 2m apart and wearing a face covering will also help stop the spread of flu.”
If you think you have flu, stay home and rest until you feel better, call NHS 111 if you have an underlying health condition, are pregnant or elderly and feel really unwell.
If you think you are eligible for a free flu vaccination and haven’t had yours yet, please contact you GP or pharmacy.
For more information about the flu vaccination visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/flu-influenza-vaccine/.