Pregnant women are being urged to get their free flu vaccination this year – to protect them and their unborn baby.

Expectant mothers are among a number of groups eligible for the flu jab for free through their GP or pharmacy. 

Emma McCartney, a midwife with the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, has delivered a video message, encouraging mums to be to get vaccinated. 

She said: "There's good evidence that pregnant women have a higher chance of developing complications if they develop flu, particularly in the later stages of pregnancy, and the flu jab will help protect them and their baby.

"Women may be worried if the vaccine is safe to have in pregnancy, but studies have shown that it is safe during any stage of pregnancy, from the first few weeks up to their expected due date. 

“Women who have the flu vaccine while pregnant also pass on some protection to their babies which lasts for the first few months of their lives – and it's also safe for women who are breastfeeding to have the flu vaccine."

Councillor Jasbir Jaspal, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "The immune system is naturally lower during pregnancy and if mums to be catch the flu it can become serious very quickly, so we are encouraging all pregnant women to get their free flu vaccination this winter.

“Even if you’ve had the flu vaccination before, it’s important to get it again because the type of virus in circulation changes every year, so the vaccine changes too. If you are towards the end of your pregnancy you can also have the whooping cough vaccination at the same time.”

To book a free flu vaccine, pregnant women should contact their GP or pharmacy as soon as possible. 

Free vaccinations are also available to people aged 65 years old or over, people with certain medical conditions, people living in long stay care, health and social care staff, carers, anyone who lives with someone who has been shielding from coronavirus, children over the age of 6 months with a long term health condition and children aged 2 and 3. To find out more, please visit Flu Vaccines.  

Meanwhile, pupils from Reception through to Year 7 are eligible for a free vaccination delivered via a quick and painless nasal spray, and Wolverhampton’s award winning Flu Fighters campaign has returned once more to encourage pupils to get their vaccine. 

Free copies of this year's out of this world storybook, Flu Fighters in Close Encounters of the Germed Kind, along with information about the vaccine and consent forms, are being distributed to all primary aged children in the city with parents encouraged to return their consent forms as soon as they receive them to ensure their child doesn’t miss out.