Boost flu jabs in pregnant women to stop needless deaths, warn officials

More pregnant women should receive the flu vaccine, says Public Health England (PHE), as data show 36 women have died during pregnancy from the virus in the last three years.

Pregnancy: flu jab warning
Pregnancy: flu jab warning

The MBRACE-UK report, released on Tuesday, reveals flu was responsible for one in 11 deaths among pregnant women between 2009 and 2012.

Despite the flu vaccine being freely available, official PHE data show 60% of pregnant women are yet to receive it this winter. PHE said the low uptake was 'of great concern'.

Pregnant women face an increased risk of developing serious complications from flu compared with other adults, which can be devastating for them and their unborn baby.

Newborns cannot be vaccinated themselves in their first weeks of life, and rely solely on protection gained from their mother during this critical stage.

Avoidable deaths

None of the 36 women who died were known to be vaccinated, despite half of the deaths occurring after the vaccine became freely available to pregnant women.

Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation for PHE, said: ‘Getting flu during pregnancy can lead to an increased risk of miscarriage, premature birth or having a low weight baby.

‘We know that mothers want to do all they can to protect their babies and it’s not too late for pregnant women to get vaccinated.

'We urge all pregnant women, and anyone else who is eligible but hasn’t yet received their free flu vaccination, to contact their GP or midwife today. It’s free because you need it.’

Earlier in the season, CMO Professor Dame Sally Davies led calls to boost flagging uptake of the vaccine in toddlers and among GPs and practice staff to help safeguard themselves and patients.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Just published

BMA demands urgent PPE solution after 50 Italian doctors die from COVID-19

BMA demands urgent PPE solution after 50 Italian doctors die from COVID-19

The government must act urgently to protect NHS staff amid a wave of COVID-19 deaths...

Essex GP confirmed as first NHS doctor killed by COVID-19

Essex GP confirmed as first NHS doctor killed by COVID-19

A 76-year-old Essex GP has been confirmed as the first NHS doctor to die after being...

4,000 GP practices asked to join COVID-19 research project

4,000 GP practices asked to join COVID-19 research project

GP practices using EMIS clinical systems have been urged to join a new COVID-19 research...

Coronavirus: Resources to help GPs manage high-risk and vulnerable patients

Coronavirus: Resources to help GPs manage high-risk and vulnerable patients

GPonline highlights information for different groups of patients and those with specific...

Free learning for GPs and nurses returning because of coronavirus

Free learning for GPs and nurses returning because of coronavirus

MIMS Learning has launched a free learning plan for GPs and nurses who are returning...

Almost 4,000 GPs rejoin GMC register as COVID-19 deaths surge

Almost 4,000 GPs rejoin GMC register as COVID-19 deaths surge

Around 3,800 GPs have rejoined the medical register barely a week after the government...