Pregnant women in the UK have been urged to take up the offer of free vaccinations ahead of a predicted “twindemic” of seasonal flu and Covid-19.
Pregnant women have been told that they, and their unborn babies, are particularly at risk of complications caused by both viruses because their immune systems naturally weaken during pregnancy.
Rachel Wigglesworth, the Director of Public Health for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly says: “Please don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s ‘just flu’ or ‘just Covid’ – individually these viruses can cause serious complications for pregnant women but together they can be even more dangerous.
MSN reports: With the virus already starting to circulate in Northamptonshire, and people mixing more than they have been in recent years, it is vitally important that pregnant women get vaccinated as soon as possible. Ilene Machiva, deputy director of midwifery at Northampton General Hospital said: “Flu can have serious complications for pregnant people.
“There is good evidence that pregnant people have a higher chance of developing complications if they get flu, particularly in the later stages of pregnancy. Women who have had a flu vaccine while pregnant also pass some protection on to their babies, which lasts for the first few months of their lives.”
If you have not yet had your flu vaccine and are pregnant, you can contact your midwife or GP to arrange yours. Mara Tonks, deputy director of midwifery at Kettering General Hospital, added: “I’d like to reassure pregnant women who are currently unvaccinated that the flu vaccine can be given safely at any stage of pregnancy, from the first few weeks up to the due date.
“If you are currently pregnant do prioritise getting yours.”
Pregnant women should also consider getting the Covid-19 vaccine, which is recommended by the Royal College of Midwives, as they are at greater risk of becoming seriously ill with the disease.
The vaccine can be given at any point during pregnancy and recent research shows that being inoculated in pregnancy can also give your baby protection for the first six months of their life.