Mums-to-be offered three vaccines this winter

Pregnant women in Lancashire and South Cumbria are being offered three vaccines – for COVID-19, flu and whooping cough – at special drop-in clinics across the area.

The clinics will take place at hospital antenatal clinics and are being offered to help protect both mum and baby. Previously all three vaccines have been available to women, but this is the first time they have been made available at once, saving valuable appointment time.

Vanessa Wilson, director of children, young people and maternity, in Lancashire and South Cumbria, said: “It is really important mums-to-be receive all three vaccines. The NHS recommends pregnant women have the COVID-19 vaccine and the flu vaccine, anytime from now to March, and the whooping cough vaccine from week 16 of pregnancy to protect mother and baby together.

“These pharmacy-led vaccination clinics are within antenatal clinics, so this will make it very convenient for expectant mums. Instead of having to attend separate appointments for the different vaccines, women can receive any or all of the three vaccines they are due at the same time. It’s a single clinic offering triple protection.

“We know pregnant women may have questions about the vaccinations and we would encourage you to have a conversation with your midwife and visit the NHS website.”

Pregnant women are eligible for an autumn COVID-19 booster dose as long as it has been at least 12 weeks since their last dose. Studies of those who are pregnant admitted to hospital with COVID-19 show there is higher risk of admission to intensive care, high blood pressure due to pre-eclampsia and premature or still birth. Vaccination remains the best way to protect mums-to-be from COVID-19, and also offers protection via the placenta to babies ready for when they are born and until they are six months old, reducing the risk of them needing hospital treatment for severe COVID-19 related illness.

Babies under one year of age are most at risk from whooping cough. For these babies, the disease is very serious and can lead to pneumonia and permanent brain damage. In the worst cases, it can be life threatening. Getting vaccinated against whooping cough during pregnancy will pass the immunity to your baby across the placenta and help to protect your baby in the first few vulnerable weeks of life until they are old enough to have the routine immunisation at eight weeks of age.

Levels of flu are expected to be higher this winter than since before the pandemic, and 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, including a chest infection which can develop into pneumonia. If you have flu while you are pregnant, it could cause your baby to be born prematurely or have a low birthweight, and may even lead to stillbirth or death.

The service, which has been commissioned by NHS England, is being run by Broadway Pharmacies.

Michael Ball from Broadway Pharmacy said: “We are delighted to be a part of this initiative to support the improved access and convenience of these important vaccinations to pregnant women.”

For more information about the clinics, go to: https://broadway-pharmacy.co.uk/pregnancy-vaccinations/

For more information about vaccines in pregnancy go to: https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/keeping-well/vaccinations/

 


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