Why you should have the vaccine
Pregnant women are at risk from viruses like flu and should not delay having their flu vaccine.
Catching flu in pregnancy can be serious for you and your baby. All pregnant women should have the flu vaccine to protect themselves and their baby because:
- you’re more likely to catch flu as your immune system is naturally weakened
- you're more likely to develop serious complications from flu such as pneumonia, compared with other women
- getting flu can lead to an increased risk of miscarriage, having a premature birth or having a low birth weight baby
- having the vaccine will help protect your newborn baby against flu during their first few months of life
The flu vaccine is safe to have at any stage of pregnancy, from conception onwards. Even if you had the flu vaccine during a previous pregnancy, you should have it again during this pregnancy as:
- an updated flu vaccine is released every year because flu viruses change. The vaccine you had in a previous pregnancy may not protect you and your baby from this year's viruses
- the immunity you get from the vaccine passes through the placenta and helps protect your baby during their early months of life
The flu vaccine and who it's for
Where you can get the vaccine
Having the vaccine either at your GP surgery or at a local pharmacy is free for pregnant women.
It's important to get vaccinated for the flu when the vaccine becomes available.
In the UK and Jersey, the flu vaccine has been routinely recommended for pregnant women since 2009.
The vaccine can’t give you flu and won't harm your unborn baby. Evidence tells us that your baby will benefit if you have the flu vaccine.
Serious side effects are very rare.
Minor side effects can include:
- a sore arm at the site of the injection
- occasionally a slight temperature
- occasionally aching muscles for a couple of days afterwards
Whooping cough vaccine and flu vaccine
It's recommended that all pregnant women have the whooping cough vaccine from week 20 of each and every pregnancy.
You can have your flu vaccine at the same time as your whooping cough vaccine. Don't delay your flu vaccine so you can have both at the same time.
Whooping cough vaccine for pregnant women