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Pregnant women urged to protect themselves and baby with flu jab
Mums-to-be in Ilkley are being urged to get a free flu jab to protect them and their unborn baby from the disease.
Ilkley Moor Practice, part of Airedale and Wharfedale and Craven CCG, is already well under way in supporting the national flu campaign and has started to immunise their ‘at risk’ patients – including pregnant women.
Gill Shuttleworth, practice nurse, said: “We are keen to encourage expectant mums to come along and have the flu vaccine to protect both themselves and their unborn child.
“Some mothers worry about the vaccine and the effect it can have on their baby but this jab is safe and can be given at any stage of pregnancy.
“The vaccination also protects newborns for the first few months of their life.” Last year just over 40 per cent of pregnant women in the Bradford district were vaccinated against flu, despite the increased risks they face by catching the virus.
Now clinical leaders from Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven Clinical Commissioning Groups are urging more pregnant women to get the jab at their local GP practice or pharmacy, as soon as possible.
The CCG is working in partnership with public health leaders from Bradford Council to increase the take-up of this vital vaccination and make sure pregnant women minimise the risk to themselves and their babies.
Dr Shirley Brierley, consultant in public health for Bradford Council, said: “Pregnant women are at increased risk of serious illness if they catch flu. In fact, studies have shown that pregnant women with some strains of flu are four times more likely to develop serious illness and four to five times more likely to be admitted to hospital than the general population.
“It normally takes up to two weeks to develop protection against flu after the vaccine, and this protection lasts all winter.”
The flu vaccine only lasts for a year, so if you had a jab last year or during a previous pregnancy, you will need another one to stay flu safe. The jab doesn’t contain the ‘live’ virus so it cannot give you the flu. If women find out they are pregnant later during the winter months they are still entitled to the free vaccination. For more information, speak to your GP, midwife or local pharmacist, or visit nhs.uk/Conditions/Flu.