Lancashire mum-to-be Maria Slater is joining forces with the local NHS to help promote the flu vaccine for pregnant women this winter. Last winter the number of pregnant women getting the flu jab across Lancashire and South Cumbria increased to 8,630 and local health teams are aiming to beat this target for this winter.
Maria, who is five months pregnant with her third child, has been filmed talking to her Practice Nurse and having the flu jab herself. The short film will be promoted by local NHS teams on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Jackie Hanson, Director Of Nursing & Care Professionals, NHS England Lancashire and South Cumbria said: “As an NHS health professional, I am really clear that if you are pregnant, getting vaccinated is the best protection for you and your unborn child from the flu virus. It’s just as important for mums-to-be to hear this message from people who are in the same position as themselves – and we are really grateful that Maria has agreed to help us.
“Pregnancy naturally weakens the body’s immune system and, as a result, increases the risk of a mother and unborn baby becoming seriously ill from flu. These risks include bronchitis, pneumonia and an increased risk of having a miscarriage or the baby being born prematurely or with a low birth weight.”
Maria said: “As a mum our first thoughts are to keep our children safe, I feel I can do this best at the moment for my unborn baby by having the flu vaccination.
“I read up on the vaccination and the risks to me and my baby if I’m not vaccinated I decided I didn’t want to take that chance. When I was reading about the vaccine, I felt confident in the vaccine was safe for me to have.
“With a daughter in primary school who is surrounded by other children who could pass on coughs and colds and maybe even the flu I felt I was at a higher risk of catching the flu virus and this is another reason why I chose to have the flu vaccination.”
Now is the ideal time for mums-to-be to have their free flu vaccination – either from their GP, Midwife or Practice Nurse before the flu virus starts circulating. All pregnant women are recommended to receive the flu vaccine no matter what stage of their pregnancy they are at.
You can watch Maria talking to her practice nurse and having her flu jab at Youtube.