News

26-03-2017

The recent update in the Australian Immunisation Handbook recommends flu vaccine for all pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy, dependent only on the flu season and vaccine availability.

The Flumum study of over 7000 pregnant women published results of the safety outcomes measured by prematurity and birth weight and demonstrated no difference between vaccinated and unvaccinated women in outcomes. The flu vaccine was given at any time in the pregnancies. This helps to settle some concerns from the community regarding the use of the vaccine in pregnancy.

The Flumum study recruited women Australia wide to investigate pregnancy outcome risks and benefits of the flu vaccine in pregnancy to mother and baby.

Other studies confirming outcome safety for pregnant women and their babies are found at the cdc.gov website under Flu Vaccine Safety and Pregnancy.

Vaccinating in pregnancy protects both mother and baby. In pregnancy, the risk of serious complications and even death from influenza infection is increased due to changes in the immune system, heart and lung function. Pregnant women with flu also have a greater chance of serious problems for their developing baby, including premature delivery.  Following the vaccination, antibodies generated help protect you against the flu and are passed to your unborn baby to protect the baby for up to 6 months after delivery. Babies younger than 6 months of age are too young to receive vaccines themselves. The baby is 25% less likely to be hospitalised for flu-related illness if their mother was vaccinated in pregnancy.  

The only women who are recommended not to receive the flu vaccine are those who have had a life-threatening allergic reaction after a dose of any influenza vaccine or part if the vaccine ( a severe allergic reaction is hives, swelling of face and throat, difficulty breathing, dizziness and weakness starting a few minutes to a few hours after the vaccination)

The World Health Organisation recommends that pregnant women should receive the highest priority for influenza vaccine.

Women are also recommended to take every day precautions against acute illnesses, such as washing your hands, avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth, avoiding close contact with people who are sick and cleaning frequently touched surfaces.

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