Mums-to-be are being urged to protect themselves and their unborn babies against the risks of flu this winter by getting their free flu vaccine.
The immunisation is free to all expectant mothers across the county as part of a national campaign to ensure people most at risk from the illness protect themselves.
West Sussex County Council’s cabinet member for community wellbeing Christine Field said: “The flu vaccine is safe and can be given from the first few weeks of pregnancy right up to the expected due date. Getting the vaccine will also reduce the risk of passing the virus on to family and friends.
“Flu can cause serious illness in pregnant women and, in the most severe cases, can put the lives of expectant mums and their unborn babies at risk.
“I would urge all pregnant women in West Sussex to take action now and get their free flu vaccine at their GP surgery.”
It is not just mums that can benefit from the flu vaccine though, as research has shown that babies born to women who have received the jab are less likely to develop a serious illness during the first six months of their life.
Flu is different to catching a common cold and the effects of seasonal flu can be serious. The flu vaccine is provided free at GP surgeries for people with long-term conditions, carers, those aged over 65, pregnant women and children who are aged two, three or four-years-old as of September 1, 2014.
Christine added: “Less than 40 per cent of eligible pregnant women got the vaccine last year in West Sussex. The virus that causes flu changes every year, as does the vaccine, which is why it is so important that those at risk protect themselves and get the vaccine every year.”
To find out more visit the ‘Get Ready for Winter’ web pages on the county council website at www.westsussex.gov.uk/flufighter
If you’re eligible for the free flu vaccine please contact your local GP.