Pregnant women are more likely to get complications from flu due to changes in their heart and lung function. Getting flu in pregnancy may also lead to premature birth and smaller birth weight. The seasonal flu vaccine will provide protection and can be given at any stage of pregnancy.
Seasonal flu vaccine works by helping the immune system to produce antibodies to the flu virus. When someone who has been vaccinated comes into contact with the virus these antibodies then attack the virus.
In the northern hemisphere, the flu season lasts from October to the end of April. Flu vaccine is recommended for all women who become pregnant at any stage during the flu season.
Vaccination during pregnancy protects your baby up to the first six months and also prevent you getting flu and passing it on to your baby.
The Flu vaccine will not give you the flu. Flu vaccine contains killed or inactivated viruses and therefore cannot cause flu. It does, however, take 10 – 14 days for the vaccine to start protecting against flu.
Seasonal flu vaccines have been given to millions of pregnant women in the last ten years. The most common side effects will be mild and may include soreness, redness or swelling where the injection was given. Headache, fever, aches and tiredness may occur.
Reactions are generally mild and serious side effects are very rare.
If you have a temperature after vaccination take paracetamol, as it is safe in pregnancy and it is important for you and your baby to avoid fever. Do not take aspirin or ibuprofen (unless advised by your obstetrician). Remember if you are unwell after a vaccine, it could be for some other reason. Don’t assume it’s due to the vaccine and seek medical advice if needed.
The vaccine is available from your GP or pharmacist. Please make an appointment now.
- The vaccine is free for those in the recommended at risk groups.
- The vaccine and consultation are free to those within the recommended groups who have a ‘Medical Card’ or ‘Doctor Only Card’.
- Family doctors and Pharmacists charge a consultation fee for seasonal flu vaccine to those who do not have a ‘Medical Card’ or ‘Doctor Only Card’.