Flu and whooping cough vaccinations available to pregnant women attending Derriford Hospital

Expectant ladies, who attend Derriford Hospital, are now going to be able to get their flu vaccination and the whooping cough vaccination at the same time.

If you are pregnant and up at the hospital for any reason, just come along, with your notes, to the Antenatal Clinic on level 6, Maternity, check in with the antenatal reception and you will be seen and given the vaccinations. They are open Monday to Friday, 8am until 5pm.

“We are delighted to be able to offer pregnant women the opportunity to have their flu jab when they are up the hospital and when they’re attending the antenatal clinic for their scans or consultant appointments,” said Charlotte Wilton, Maternity Matron at Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust. “This offers our pregnant women more choice and means that a separate trip to the GP or Pharmacy isn't necessary.”

Flu is a highly infectious disease with symptoms such as fever, chills, aches and pains in the joints and muscles, headaches and extreme tiredness. It can lead to hospitalisation, disability and even death.

Charlotte continues: “Flu is far more likely to cause severe illness in women that are pregnant than women that aren’t. The flu virus can also cause problems for the developing baby”.

“Being vaccinated against flu is the single most important thing you can do to protect yourself from flu. It has been shown that the flu jab not only protects women against flu but protects her baby for several months after the birth too.”

“Flu vaccines are very safe and can be given at any time during the pregnancy but the sooner you are vaccinated at the start of the flu season, the better the protection.”

GPs will continue to offer the free flu vaccine to pregnant women and other people in eligible groups including anyone aged over 65, young children and anyone with an underlying health condition. This additional service for expectant mothers helps to improve patient choice and their access to this immunisation.

The pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine is also be offered in maternity departments alongside the flu vaccine. There is a lot of whooping cough around at the moment and babies that are too young to start their vaccinations are at greatest risk.

Young babies with whooping cough are often very unwell and most will be admitted to hospital because of their illness. When whooping cough is particularly severe, babies can die. Pregnant women can help protect their babies by getting vaccinated against pertussis, ideally from 16 weeks up to 32 weeks pregnant. The flu vaccine can safely be given at any stage of pregnancy.