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Immunisations in pregnancy

March 23, 2016

Immunisations in pregnancy

Pregnant women are at the top of our priority list for being immunised against the flu. For some reason pregnant women are far more vulnerable to flu viruses and are five times more likely to be hospitalised with flu than other groups.  One additional benefit is that the mother will transmit some immunity to her new born baby, thus protecting them from flu in their very vulnerable first few weeks of life. Pregnant women can be vaccinated for FREE at any stage of their pregnancy. Dads, grandparents and care givers should also consider vaccination to provide a shield from flu around the new baby, but for them the vaccine costs $35.

Here are some useful links to information and resources relating to influenza and pregnancy: -

Avoid FLU during pregnancy brochurePregnant women - frequently asked questions

The other immunisation for pregnant women to consider is the Pertussis or whooping cough vaccination.  Vaccination of the mother from 28 weeks can prevent babies becoming infected. This is highly recommended and is free after 28 weeks. Again it is worth fathers, grandparents, siblings and carers getting vaccinated too.

For every 100 infants under 12 months old with whooping cough, around 70 will be hospitalised, 7 will require intensive care, and there is a small but real risk of permanent medical complications or death.  80% of infants who catch whooping cough get it from a parent, caregiver, or sibling. The disease is usually milder in teenagers and adults, however some will get pneumonia, and severe coughing can cause sleep disturbance, incontinence, vomiting, and even broken ribs. It is a highly contagious condition, one person with whooping cough will pass it on to an average of 15 other people.