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Pregnant women in Oxfordshire urged to get annual flu jab


Pregnant women in Oxfordshire are being urged to get their annual flu jab.

Mums-to-be benefit from the flu vaccination because it reduces their risk of serious complications such as pneumonia, particularly in the later stages of pregnancy; reduces the risk of miscarriage or having a baby born too soon or with a low birth weight; helps protect their baby who will continue to have some immunity to flu during the first few months of its life; and reduces the chance of the mother passing infection to her new baby.

Strains of flu change regularly, so it is important to have the vaccine each year, even for those people who think they may have already been ill with flu.

Flu can make otherwise healthy people feel very poorly for up to a fortnight. The symptoms, which come on quickly, include fever, chills, headaches, aches and pains in the joints and muscles, and extreme tiredness.

Dr Ed Capo-Bianco, Urgent Care Lead at Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: "It's really important for pregnant women to have the flu vaccine as pregnancy weakens the body's immune system and can cause serious complications for the mother and baby.

"The vaccine is safe for both pregnant and breastfeeding women and actually passes some protection on to your baby in the first few months of life. I urge all pregnant women to visit their GP practice to have the vaccination when contacted by their surgery."

Pregnant women in Oxfordshire can get a free flu vaccination at their GP practice when invited, and at some community pharmacies and maternity services' scan clinics.

There is more information on the flu vaccination and pregnant women on the NHS website.