Pregnant women urged to get Flu and Covid vaccines ahead of winter

Published Wednesday 4 October 2023 at 12:11

Public Health at Blackburn with Darwen are urging all pregnant women to get their flu and Covid vaccines to give themselves and their babies the best protection against illness this Autumn and Winter.

Both vaccinations are free, and available to book now through your GP.

For women who are pregnant it gets harder to fight off infections, and this means they are at greater risk from becoming seriously ill with flu or Covid – especially in their third trimester, as both illnesses can cause complications for mother and baby.

Serious Covid infection late in pregnancy can also lead to an increased risk of being born prematurely.

Developing flu can also be very serious for a small number of pregnant people and their babies, and can leave women at greater risk of complications such as bronchitis – a chest infection that can develop into pneumonia.

The NHS Covid vaccine schedule has been moved forward due to a new variant of the virus which is circulating. Annual flu jabs are also currently being offered to eligible people – and you may be able to get the two at the same time.

The NHS has started to invite people in priority order of risk, and once you have been invited you will be able to book an appointment on the National Booking Service.

This has been moved forward from the original start date in October following the announcement by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) of the new BA.2.86 Covid variant and pre-emptive measures the NHS has been asked to take.

Covid-19 autumn booster jabs eligibility

  • aged 65 years old or over (you need to be 65 years old by 31 March 2024)
  • aged 6 months to 64 years old and are at increased risk
  • living in a care home for older adults
  • Pregnant women
  • a frontline health or social care worker
  • aged 16 to 64 years old and are a carer
  • aged 12 to 64 years old and live with someone with a weakened immune system

Available at: GP practices and Community pharmacies.

Annual flu jabs eligibility:

The flu vaccine is given free on the NHS to adults who:

  • are 65 and over (including those who will be 65 by 31 March 2024)
  • have certain health conditions
  • are pregnant
  • are in long-stay residential care
  • receive a carer’s allowance, or are the main carer for an older or disabled person who may be at risk if you get sick

Cllr Damian Talbot, Executive Member for Public Health, Prevention and Wellbeing, said:

Flu and Covid vaccines are the most effective way we can protect ourselves from serious infections and this is especially important for certain groups of people, including pregnant women.

The vaccine provides high levels of protection, and both the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (RCOG) and the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) recommend vaccination as one of the best defences against severe infection.”





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