Health chiefs urge pregnant women in Bedfordshire to get flu jab to protect their unborn children

Flu jab
Flu jab

Health leaders across Bedfordshire are urging pregnant women and young children to get their free flu vaccine as soon as possible.

The flu virus is a deadly serious issue for pregnant woman and children because they are more at risk of developing complications such as pneumonia, meningitis, severe ear infections and tonsillitis.

What’s more in pregnant women it may cause miscarriage, premature birth and even stillbirth.

Taking the flu vaccine while pregnant will also protect babies for several months after they are born, which is important as new-borns cannot receive the flu vaccine before six months old.

Cllr Louise Jackson, Portfolio Holder for Public Health: “It is really important to protect children and babies against the flu as they are more vulnerable to developing serious complications. The flu vaccination is completely free and as well as protecting your child it will also help prevent the spread of flu to other vulnerable members of the community.”

Cllr Jackson is speaking out now because health chiefs say for the best protection, flu vaccines should be taken early, ideally between September and November.

Women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant will be eligible for a free flu vaccine. Children between the ages of two and nine years will also be eligible and will receive a free flu nasal spray.

For more information about how to get a free flu vaccine contact your local GP, midwife or your community pharmacy. Children aged four to nine years old will receive their vaccine at school by a qualified nursing team if permission has been given by their parents.

Bedford Borough Council says the flu vaccination does not give you the flu but some people may experience minor symptoms afterwards, as with other vaccinations.

For more information about flu and the flu vaccination visit the NHS choices website:

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/vaccinations/Pages/flu-influenza-vaccine.aspx

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/vaccinations/Pages/flu-vaccine-questions-answers.aspx