October 10 – Midwives are being trained to give the flu jab to pregnant women as the NHS seeks avert the problems of last winter. Several women died last winter as swine flu continued to spread. In Lancashire, a special training programme is under way for midwives so they can give the vaccine directly to the women they work with.
Last year women proved reluctant to have the vaccine, fearing it could affect their children. As many as a third of the women admitted to hospital with the flu were pregnant.
Sue Sherlock, deputy head of midwifery at the Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I fully understand concerns about the safety of the flu jab but not only is it safe for pregnant women to have it, but it offers vital protection.
“Every year the flu vaccine is created in the same way and it does not contain any live virus, so it cannot cause flu.”
And NHS Central Lancashire immunisation co-ordinator Fiona Print said: “In pregnancy, the immune system is naturally suppressed, which raises the risk of complications such as pneumonia, which can lead to premature labour or miscarriage.”