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Vaccinations in Pregnancy

We recommend the seasonal flu, whooping cough and Covid vaccinations during pregnancy. Please see the sections below for further information.

Additionally please speak to your midwife, GP or obstetrician if you require further advice or support.

More than 200,000 women in the UK and USA have had a COVID-19 vaccine in pregnancy with no concerning safety signals.

There is excellent evidence of vaccine efficacy with 98% of women admitted to hospital and getting severe infection having not had the vaccine (what this appears to show is those women who are becoming significantly unwell and requiring ITU admission are most often unvaccinated).

There is no reported increase in congenital anomalies incidence because of COVID-19 infection.

Covid 19 vaccines do not contain ingredients that are known to be harmful to pregnant women or to the developing baby. Studies of the vaccines in animals to look at the effects on pregnancy have shown no evidence that the vaccine causes harm to the pregnancy or to fertility.

The Covid vaccinations in use are not ‘live’ vaccines and so cannot cause Covid infection to a mother or baby, and other non-live vaccines have previously shown to be safe in pregnancy (e.g. flu and whopping cough).

COVID-19 vaccines can be given at any time in pregnancy, and preference is to offer the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines.

Pregnant women receiving a COVID-19 vaccine show similar patterns of reporting for common minor adverse effects to non-pregnant people.

Women who are breastfeeding can receive a COVID-19 vaccine without having to stop breastfeeding.

There is no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 vaccines affect fertility.

Women planning a pregnancy or fertility treatment can receive a COVID-19 vaccine and do not need to delay conception.

You can find further up-to-date information by clicking on the following links:

Further information from the Royal College of Obrtetricians & Gynaecologists regarding Coronavirus infection and pregnancy can be found here

An information sheet and decision aid from the Royal College of Obrtetricians & Gynaecologists can be found here

Information from the UK Government can be found here

Further information from public health wales can be found here

Whooping cough (pertussis) rates have risen sharply in recent years and babies who are too young to start their vaccinations are at greatest risk.

Young babies with whooping cough are often very unwell and most will be admitted to hospital because of their illness. When whooping cough is particularly severe, they can die.

Pregnant women can help protect their babies by getting vaccinated – ideally from 16 weeks up to 32 weeks pregnant. If for any reason you miss having the vaccine, you can still have it up until you go into labour.

Why are pregnant women advised to have the vaccine?

Getting vaccinated while you're pregnant is highly effective in protecting your baby from developing whooping cough in the first few weeks of their life.

The immunity you get from the vaccine will pass to your baby through the placenta and provide passive protection for them until they are old enough to be routinely vaccinated against whooping cough at 8 weeks old.

When should I have the whooping cough vaccine?

The best time to get vaccinated to protect your baby is from 16 weeks up to 32 weeks of pregnancy. This maximises the chance that your baby will be protected from birth, through the transfer of your antibodies before he or she is born.

If for any reason you miss having the vaccine, you can still have it up until you go into labour. However, this is not ideal, as your baby is less likely to get protection from you. At this stage of pregnancy, having the vaccination may not directly protect your baby, but would help protect you from whooping cough and from passing it on to your baby.

Is the vaccine safe in pregnancy?

It's understandable that you might have concerns about the safety of having a vaccine during pregnancy, but there's no evidence to suggest that the whooping cough vaccine is unsafe for you or your unborn baby.

Pertussis-containing vaccine (whooping cough vaccine) has been used routinely in pregnant women in the UK since October 2012, and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is carefully monitoring its safety. This study of around 20,000 vaccinated women has found no evidence of risks to pregnancy or babies.

To date, around 69% of eligible pregnant women have received the whooping cough vaccine with no safety concerns being identified in the baby or mother.

Is whooping cough vaccination in pregnancy working?

Yes, it is. Published research from the UK vaccination programme shows that vaccinating pregnant women against whooping cough has been highly effective in protecting young babies until they can have their first vaccination when they are 8 weeks old.

Babies born to women vaccinated at least a week before birth had a 91% reduced risk of becoming ill with whooping cough in their first weeks of life, compared to babies whose mothers had not been vaccinated.

An additional benefit is that the protection the mother receives from the vaccination will lower her own risk of infection and of passing whooping cough on to her baby.

 

Flu can be very serious in pregnancy. If you are pregnant, you should have a flu vaccine to help protect you and your unborn child. Flu vaccine is safe during all stages of pregnancy.

If a pregnant women gets flu, her baby is more likely to be born early, with a low birth weight, or be stillborn or die within their first week. The vaccine also helps protect the baby in the first 4-6 months of life when flu can be very serious.

You should have the flu vaccine as soon as you know you are pregnant (if the vaccine is available- it is a seasonal vaccine usually available between October-March); you can have it at the same time as the whooping cough vaccine, but don't delay your flu vaccine simply so you can have both at the same time.

Pregnant women can get their flu vaccine at their general practice (GP surgery), or via a community pharmacy.

Why are pregnant women advised to have the flu vaccine?

The flu jab will help protect both you and your baby.

There is good evidence that pregnant women have a higher chance of developing complications if they get flu, particularly in the later stages of pregnancy.

One of the most common complications of flu is bronchitis, a chest infection that can become serious and develop into pneumonia.

If you have flu while you're pregnant, it could cause your baby to be born prematurely or have a low birthweight, and may even lead to stillbirth or death.

Is the flu vaccine safe in pregnancy?

Yes. Studies have shown that it's safe to have the flu vaccine during any stage of pregnancy, from the first few weeks up to your expected due date.

Women who have had the flu vaccine while pregnant also pass some protection on to their babies, which lasts for the first few months of their lives.

It's safe for women who are breastfeeding to have the vaccine.

When should I have the flu vaccine?

The best time to have a flu vaccine is in the autumn, before flu starts circulating. If you've missed this time, you can have the flu vaccine later in the winter although it's best to get it earlier.

Do not worry if you find that you're pregnant later in the flu season – you can have the vaccine then if you have not already had it.

How do I get the flu vaccine?

Contact your midwife or GP surgery to find out where you can get the flu vaccine. It's a good idea to get vaccinated as soon as possible after the vaccine becomes available in September.

In some areas, midwives can give the flu vaccine at the antenatal clinic. In others, you will need an appointment at a GP surgery.

Some community pharmacies now offer the flu vaccine on the NHS.

If I had the flu jab last year, do I need to have it again now?

Yes, because the viruses that cause flu change every year. This means the flu (and the vaccine) this year may be different from last year.

If you had the flu vaccine last year, either because you were pregnant or because you're in a vulnerable group, you need to have it again this year.

Will the flu jab give me flu?

No. The vaccine does not contain any live viruses, so it cannot cause flu. Some people get a slightly raised temperature and aching muscles for a couple of days afterwards, and you may feel sore at the injection site.

Can I have the flu jab at the same time as the whooping cough vaccine?

Yes, you can have the flu jab at the same time as the whooping cough vaccine, but do not delay your flu jab so you can have both at the same time.

Pregnant women are at risk of severe illness from flu at any stage of pregnancy, so you need to have the flu vaccine as soon as possible.

I'm pregnant and think I have flu. What should I do?

Talk to a GP as soon as possible. If you do have flu, there's a prescribed medicine you can take that might help, or reduce your risk of complications, but it needs to be taken very soon after symptoms appear.

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