NHS flu jab offer for mums-to-be

JAB ... pregnant Helen Harrison gets her flu injection from midwife Anne Hill.
JAB ... pregnant Helen Harrison gets her flu injection from midwife Anne Hill.

Midwives in South Tyneside are offering pregnant women the opportunity to get the NHS flu vaccine.

Previously mums-to-be, who are at risk of serious complications from flu, could only seek advice from midwives about the vaccination.

But NHS South Tyne and Wear has teamed up with South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust to commission them to administer the injections.

This will be more time effective as patients will be offered the jab though their routine antenatal appointments.

Anne Hill, 55, community midwifery service manager for the Trust, said: “Midwives are in a unique position to advise and offer help and support to women throughout their pregnancy and afterwards.

“The South Tyneside midwife vaccinations are delivered at GP practices as part of the antenatal care offered.

“We explain exactly how having flu can affect the baby’s respiratory system and advise our ladies about the flu jab. They make an informed decision from there.”

Helen Harrison, 32, a secondary school teacher from South Shields, decided to take up the offer of being vaccinated.

She said: “I was advised by my midwife to have the flu jab and I trust her judgement as I’ve been following her guidance since becoming pregnant.

“I’ve never had it before but as a school teacher, coming into contact with hundreds of people on a daily basis, means that I hugely increase my chances of getting flu so it made a lot of sense to me to get it done.”

Dr Matthew Walmsley chair of NHS South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group and a practising GP, said: “Over the past few years we’ve all seen just how serious flu can be, with people of all ages needing hospital treatment, many in intensive care.

“We don’t want anyone to get ill from something which can be avoided and that’s why people in the flu risk groups such as pregnant women should book a vaccination appointment with their GP, speak to their midwife or pharmacist as soon as possible.”

Twitter: @ShieldsGazVez