Luton Clinical Commissioning Group

NHS Luton Clinical Commissioning Group

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NHS flu vaccine: the best protection against “Aussie flu”

22 January 2018


News graphic

NHS’s flu vaccine is effective against the “Aussie flu” so health leaders are encouraging pregnant women to protect themselves and their unborn babies by having the flu jab urgently.

There are significantly more people with flu being admitted to Bedford Hospital and Luton & Dunstable University Hospital this winter. Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group & Luton Clinical Commissioning Group are encouraging high-risk patients including pregnant women to get their free flu vaccination and stay protected from the flu virus.

Only half of the pregnant women in Bedfordshire have chosen to have their free flu jab whilst less than 40% of pregnant women in Luton have had their vaccination.

Dr Uzma Sarwar, a lead clinician working with women and children for Luton CCG, said: “I would urge anyone who is pregnant to get the flu vaccination as soon as possible. During pregnancy, a woman’s immune system is naturally lower to ensure that the pregnancy is successful. As a result, pregnant women are less able to fight off infections and therefore more likely to be seriously ill if they pick up the flu virus.

“The flu vaccination is the best protection against flu. It’s safe during any stage of pregnancy, from the first few weeks through to the woman’s due date and doesn’t carry any risks for mother or baby. Women who have had the flu vaccine while pregnant also pass some protection on to their babies, which lasts for the first few months of their lives.”

Christina Cannell, a Bedfordshire resident, said, “I wouldn’t let anything harm my unborn baby! I knew the complications of flu can be severe during pregnancy so even though I had my vaccine last year, I had it again this year because the virus changes and I wanted to protect my baby.”

Dr Annapurna Sen, Head of Health Protection for Public Health in Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes said, “Flu vaccine cannot give you the flu. It is important to have the flu jab to keep yourself and your baby well. If you are towards the end of your pregnancy, you can also have the whooping cough vaccination at the same time.”

If you’re pregnant speak to your midwife, pharmacist or GP to arrange for your free flu vaccination.

Notes to editors

You are eligible to receive a free flu jab if you:

  • are 65 years of age orover   

  • are pregnant 

  • have certain medical conditions 

  • are living in a long-stay residential care home or other long-stay care facility 

  • receive a carer's allowance, or you are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if you fall ill 

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