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Mums-to-be urged to take up free flu jab
Health leaders are urging mums-to-be to get a flu jab to reduce health risks to themselves and their babies.
Free flu vaccinations are offered to every pregnant woman across the district to protect them and their unborn baby from the disease. Last year more than 40 per cent of pregnant Bradford women were vaccinated.
In support of a national flu campaign, leaders from the three local clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) – Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven; Bradford City and Bradford Districts – are urging more women to get the jab as soon as possible.
Ilkley Moor Practice, part of Airedale and Wharfedale and Craven CCG, has started to immunise its ‘at risk’ patients.
Practice nurse Gill Shuttleworth said: “We are keen to encourage expectant mums to come along and have the flu vaccine to protect both themselves and their unborn child.
“Some mothers worry about the vaccine and the effect it can have on their baby, but this jab is safe and can be given at any stage of pregnancy.
“The vaccination also protects new-borns for the first few months of their life.”
The CCGs are working in partnership with public health leaders from Bradford Council to increase the take-up.
Dr Shirley Brierley, consultant in public health for the Council, said: “Pregnant women are at increased risk of serious illness if they catch flu.
“In fact, studies have shown that pregnant women with some strains of flu are four times more likely to develop serious illness and four to five times more likely to be admitted to hospital than the general population.
“It normally takes up to two weeks to develop protection against flu after the vaccine, and this protection lasts all winter.”
The flu vaccine lasts for a year and pregnant women should talk to their GP, midwife or local pharmacist about receiving one.
If women find out they are pregnant later during winter months they are still entitled to the free vaccination.