This site is intended for health professionals only

DH: Pregnant women need flu jab

Seasonal influenza vaccines should be given to pregnant women this winter in preparation for the return of the swine flu virus, the Department of Health (DH) has said.

Professionals working in healthcare were reminded that the vaccine also immunises women against H1N1, which is still predicted to circulate again in 2010.

The recommendation was made before the start of the flu vaccination scheme beginning on October 4 in Wales and Scotland.

England's start date for the vaccination initiative was not confirmed by a DH spokesman.

People who should be vaccinated include those with weakened immune systems, people suffering from a history of heart disease and diabetics, according to the DH campaign leaflet.

The vaccine should also be made available to pharmacists working in clinical or community settings, England's interim chief medical officer said in June.

Copyright © Press Association 2010


Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

"Informing patients that this years seasonal flu vaccine contains H1N1 strain should be part of the informed consent process" - M Pugh, Shropshire

"The side-effects from last year's swine flu was largely due to the amount of adjuvant in it (to stretch the small amount of antigen available). This year's seasonal flu does NOT have this problem and should cause no more problems than any other seasonal flu jab. May take a bit of time to explain to patients, but for the concerned ones I have found this explanation has resulted in no refusals so far" - Stella Tidman

"We are informing all our patients who attend or book for the flu vaccination. We must obtain 'informed consent' for any vaccination and if we do not inform patients of the inclusion this year of the swine flu then how can we possibly have gained the consent that we legally require?" - Trish Bell, Leeds

"I think we need to inform individuals that the seasonal flu vaccine contains the H1N1 virus, but I feel that many may refuse it if they have already received the H1N1 vaccine earlier in the year especially if they were the unlucky ones to experience side effects. A difficult one!" - Colette Nock, Chipping Campden

"Already we have had a few people who usually have the seasonal flu vaccine, declining this years as it contains the H1N1. Is anyone else informing patients before giving it? We haven't as yet but it has been in the press" - Karen Tamblin, Scarborough