Pregnant women in Northamptonshire have been urged to take up the offer of free vaccinations ahead of a predicted “twindemic” of seasonal flu and Covid-19. Pregnant women, and their babies, are particularly at risk of complications caused by both viruses.
The immune system naturally weakens during pregnancy which puts women at a higher risk of more severe flu symptoms. There is also a greater risk of further complications such as pneumonia.
Pregnant women are also more likely to be admitted to hospital due to flu than the general population. In 2021-22, only 35% of those who were pregnant at the time received their flu vaccination.
With the virus already starting to circulate in Northamptonshire, and people mixing more than they have been in recent years, it is vitally important that pregnant women get vaccinated as soon as possible. Ilene Machiva, deputy director of midwifery at Northampton General Hospital said: “Flu can have serious complications for pregnant people.
“There is good evidence that pregnant people have a higher chance of developing complications if they get flu, particularly in the later stages of pregnancy. Women who have had a flu vaccine while pregnant also pass some protection on to their babies, which lasts for the first few months of their lives.”
If you have not yet had your flu vaccine and are pregnant, you can contact your midwife or GP to arrange yours. Mara Tonks, deputy director of midwifery at Kettering General Hospital, added: “I’d like to reassure pregnant women who are currently unvaccinated that the flu vaccine can be given safely at any stage of pregnancy, from the first few weeks up to the due date.
“If you are currently pregnant do prioritise getting yours.”