Mums to be offered flu jab with H1N1

All pregnant women will be offered the trivalent seasonal flu jab, containing H1N1 antigens, to protect them against swine flu, the DoH has said.

Pregnant women not in the clinical risk group will be offered the jab (Photograph: Rex Features)
Pregnant women not in the clinical risk group will be offered the jab (Photograph: Rex Features)

From September, the trivalent flu vaccine will be offered to all healthy pregnant women yet to be vaccinated against swine flu.

In a letter to healthcare professionals, the DoH said: 'This year's programme is more complex than in the past given the availability of both the monovalent and trivalent vaccines.'

In February, the WHO announced that swine flu antigens will be included in the 2010/11 seasonal flu vaccine.

Now healthy pregnant women not in the clinical risk group will be offered the trivalent seasonal flu vaccine.

RCGP immunisation lead Dr George Kassianos warned that the advice does not include women intending to fall pregnant during the flu season.

'Further, (the DoH) assumes that a pregnant woman who received the pandemic vaccine in April 2010 will still have protective influenza antibody level in December and in the post-partum period,' he said. 'We need to see the evidence that it is so.'

The latest figures show seasonal flu vaccine uptake among healthcare workers rose last year, but the DoH has said further improvement is needed.

'It is important that health professionals protect themselves, their family members and their patients by having the influenza vaccine.'

People in the seasonal flu risk group aged five to 65 will be offered the seasonal flu vaccine as usual, as will all people over 65.

At-risk children yet to receive swine flu protection will be given the monovalent vaccine alongside the trivalent seasonal flu vaccine. This is because the response to the trivalent seasonal flu vaccine is uncertain in these groups, the DoH said.

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