The Flu & Covid Vaccines In Pregnancy

vaccines during pregnancy

Covid-19 Vaccine

Should you get the vaccine while pregnant?

Although the covid-19 vaccine in the UK has been shown to be effective and safe, it has not yet been tested in pregnancy. Therefore, the NHS is advising those who are pregnant to not be vaccinated unless you are at high risk.

Is the vaccine safe while breastfeeding?

The Covid vaccines are not thought to be a risk to the breastfeeding infant. The JCVI has recommended that the vaccine can be received whilst breastfeeding. This is in line with recommendations in the USA and from the World Health Organisation.

If you are breastfeeding, you may decide to wait until you have finished breastfeeding and then have the vaccination.

Key points:

  • if you are pregnant you should not be vaccinated unless you are at high risk – you can be vaccinated after your pregnancy is over
  • if you have had the first dose and then become pregnant you should delay the second dose until after the pregnancy is over (unless you are at high risk)

Although the vaccine has not been tested in pregnancy, you may decide that the known risks from COVID-19 are so clear that you wish to go ahead with vaccination, due to potentially extenuating circumstances. There is no advice to avoid pregnancy after COVID-19 vaccination.

The Flu Jab in Pregnancy

It is recommended by the NHS that all pregnant women have the flu vaccine. The flu jab is safe to have during all stages of pregnancy, from the first few weeks up to your due date.

Studies have also shown that women who have had the flu jab during pregnancy, have passed on some protection to their babies, which also lasts for the first few months after birth.

Why is it recommended?

There is evidence that pregnant women are more at risk of developing complications if they do get the flu, in particular in the later stages of pregnancy.

Therefore the flu jab is recommended to protect yourself and baby.

What complications can the flu cause in pregnancy?

One of the most common complications of flu is bronchitis. This is a chest infection that can become serious and develop into pneumonia.

If you have flu while you’re pregnant, it could cause your baby to be born prematurely,  have a low birthweight, and can also cause complications during birth.

When should you get the flu jab?

The NHS recommend the best time to have the flu jab is in autumn, before the flu starts circulating. You can also get the vaccine in winter, however it is recommended to try to get it earlier.

If you have found out you are pregnant later into the flu season, you can also receive the vaccine then (if you haven’t already had it).

If you had the flu jab last year, you will still need to receive this again. This is because the viruses cause the flu to change each year, which means the flue and vaccine may be different to the previous year.

How do I get the vaccine?

It is easy to get the vaccine, just speak to your GP or midwife and they will be able to find where you can get the vaccine.