Pregnant women across the borough are being urged to make sure they get the flu jab this winter.
The flu vaccination is one of the most effective ways to reduce harm from flu as it
reduces risk of serious illness, hospitalisation and even death among those who are most at risk – including expectant mothers.
If you are pregnant, you are eligible for the flu vaccination it is free of charge – it’s free because mothers need it.
The flu vaccine reduces the risk of complications and potential harmful consequences for both the mother and baby if you catch the flu such as premature birth.
Pregnancy naturally weakens the body’s immune system and as a result mothers may be less able to fight off infections, increasing the risk of becoming seriously ill as a result of flu.
Local resident, Nicole Cowan, said: “This is my second pregnancy and I also had the flu jab when I was expecting my first baby. I think it’s really important to be vaccinated as it protects both me and my baby and it’s great that the NHS is offering the jab for free to pregnant women like me.”
The flu vaccine is safe during any stage of pregnancy; it does not carry any risks for you or your baby.
Cllr Ian Moncur, Cabinet Member Health and Wellbeing, said: ““Flu is a highly contagious illness that spreads rapidly. It can cause serious complications for at risk groups, such as expectant mothers and people with long term health conditions.
“Despite us having a relatively mild autumn so far, the flu jab is the last thing on people’s minds, especially expectant mums.
“However, for many people flu is an unpleasant illness but for pregnant women it is extremely dangerous and can be lethal.
“My advice for anyone eligible for the free flu vaccination is to get it now before flu starts to circulate in the Sefton community.”
Free flu vaccinations are being offered to all pregnant women, all children aged 2 to 4, residents of all ages with a long term health condition and everyone aged 65 and over. Most people who are eligible can get vaccinated at their local GP practice.
Dr Wendy Hewitt, clinical lead for children and maternity, NHS South Sefton CCG and NHS Southport and Formby CCG, added: “You can have the flu vaccine at any point in your pregnancy and not only is it safe for you and your baby, it’ll reduce your chances of becoming seriously ill as a result of flu from things like pneumonia, premature birth or even miscarriage.
“The added advantage is that your baby will continue to be protected from flu for the first few months of their life. Talk to your GP or midwife if you have any questions and they’ll be happy to help.”