Pregnant women urged to take the free flu and COVID-19 vaccinations

The NHS in Hampshire and Isle of Wight is urging pregnant women to continue using health services and get the COVID-19 and flu jabs to help protect themselves and their unborn baby. 

One of the best things a pregnant woman can do to protect themselves and their baby is to have the COVID-19 and flu vaccinations. Having the vaccinations at any stage of pregnancy protects women and also gives newborn babies vital protection in the first few months of their lives. 

Dr Nicola Decker, Clinical Leader at the Hampshire, Southampton and Isle of Wight CCG said: “I encourage all pregnant women to get their vaccinations. 

“Getting flu during pregnancy can increase the risk of miscarriage, having a baby born too soon or born with a low birth weight. By having your free flu vaccination, either during an appointment with your midwife or at your GP practice reduces this risk. 

“It also provides protection for your baby once they are born. It’s safe to have at any stage in your pregnancy and we would encourage you to take up the offer.” 

Josie Greenen, a project manager, on the Isle of Wight, is seven months pregnant and has had both doses of the COVID-19 vaccination. 

She said: “Having and carrying a child is a big responsibility and naturally I understand why women may be hesitant to have the COVID-19 vaccination, as they want to ensure they are doing the best by themselves and by extension their baby. 

“However we know the risk of not having the vaccine, catching COVID-19 and the complications that arise from it, far outweighs any doubts about having the vaccination. 

“Having the vaccination, like having the flu jab, is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your unborn baby.” 

As well as getting the vaccinations, women are being reminded to attend their routine maternity appointments. To find out more about pregnancy and flu visit NHS.uk

Dr Nigel Watson, Clinical Lead for the COVID-19 Vaccination Programme in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, said:” You can receive the vaccinations at any time in pregnancy, but we urge you to have them as soon as possible. Unvaccinated pregnant women face the risk of becoming extremely poorly with either COVID-19 or flu if they catch either virus.

“We do understand pregnant women’s concerns about having the vaccines and we want to reassure women that there is no link between having the vaccine and an increased risk of miscarriage, premature birth, or stillbirth.”

If you're pregnant and have not had a COVID-19 vaccine yet, it's preferable for you to have the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine. This is because these vaccines have been more widely used during pregnancy in other countries and no safety concerns have been identified.

The vaccines cannot give you or your baby COVID-19. 

You can book your COVID-19 vaccination appointments online. 

Pregnant women can have both the COVID-19 and flu vaccinations together at any stage of their pregnancy. 

For more information on COVID-19, the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Vaccination Programme and frequently asked questions, click here.