Wales

Expectant mothers in Wales urged to get winter flu jab

A woman getting an injection Image copyright Thinkstock

Pleas for pregnant women in Wales to get a free flu jab this winter have been made by health bodies.

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) and Public Heath Wales stressed the dangers of flu to pregnant women and reminded expectant mothers to get vaccinated.

Pregnant women are more vulnerable to infections and cannot fight off flu as well as other people.

Dr Richard Roberts, of Public Health Wales, said there can be "severe complications" for mothers and babies.

Pregnant women who catch flu are more likely to deliver early, with an increased risk of stillbirth or illness for a baby in their first week.

Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption The chances of death for a pregnant woman is seven times more likely if they catch flu, according to health authorities

Helen Rogers, director of RCM, said it "strongly recommends" pregnant women have the vaccination, saying they can have it "at any stage during their pregnancy".

"We also urge midwives and other health professionals to have the vaccination to protect themselves, their family and the people they care for from infection as well," she added.

Dr Richard Roberts, head of the vaccine preventable disease programme at Public Health Wales, said flu can be "devastating for the woman and her unborn baby".

The annual flu vaccination programme aims to make sure the people who need it most get free protection each year, including those aged 65 and over and people with certain long-term health conditions, as well as pregnant women.

All children aged two and three years old on 31 August 2016, and those in reception class, year one, two and three in school are also being offered protection with a nasal spray flu vaccine.

Two and three-year-olds will get their spray at GP surgeries, while those up to year three will be offered the vaccine at school.

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