Pregnant women are being urged to take advantage of the free NHS flu jab this winter

This autumn health experts across Doncaster are urging mums-to-be to take up the offer and have warned of the risks of having flu whilst pregnant could be.

As the colder months draw in, flu season is right around the corner and the latest figures from Public Health show that last year only 41.5% of pregnant women in Doncaster had the free flu vaccination.

Flu is a highly infectious acute viral infection which can be more serious for pregnant women as well as older adults, very young children, and people with underlying health conditions.

NHS Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group Clinical Chair and local GP David Crichton said: “Pregnancy can change the body’s immune system and as a result flu can potentially cause additional problems for women and their babies.

“One of the most common complications of flu is a secondary bronchitis, a chest infection which in some people can develop into a severe form called pneumonia.

“If women have flu while they’re pregnant, it could also have an impact on their babies growth and increases the chances of being born prematurely.

“The flu jab is the safest and easiest way to help protect pregnant women and their babies against flu.

Dr Crichton also emphasised how important it is for everyone who is entitled to a flu vaccine to get it explaining: “Flu strains change every year, so it’s important that you get the jab even if you had it within the last year.

“By booking as early as possible, you maximise the protection the vaccine brings to you, your family and other vulnerable people in Doncaster. I’ve had mine, have you had yours?”

People who are eligible for the NHS flu vaccine this year include:

  • Pregnant women
  • Those aged 65 and over
  • Those aged 6 months to 64 with a long-term health condition
  • Children aged 2-3 (on 31 August 2019) via their GP practice
  • School children in years reception, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6
  • Health and social care workers
  • Carers

If you’re not eligible for a free flu jab, most local pharmacies offer a flu vaccination for a fee of around £10 with some stores offering online appointment booking.

You can find out more information about the flu vaccine from the NHS website https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/flu-influenza-vaccine/

Local practices across Doncaster are booking flu vaccination clinics now, for more information or to book an appointment give them a call.

Check out this easy read Flu guide produced by Public Health England.

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