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Norman Swan: Only around a third of pregnant women receive influenza immunisation. That means two thirds are extremely vulnerable to serious illness themselves, not to mention their babies. The W.H.O and an Australian expert group recommend that pregnant women are a high priority for influenza immunisation.

 

Debra Thoms: Pregnant women who catch influenza are more than twice as likely to be admitted to hospital than other people.

 

Influenza infection during pregnancy can lead to premature delivery and even death in newborns and very young babies.

 

Brendan Murphy: We now all understand how important it is to immunise pregnant women against pertussis, which is great.  But influenza is also very serious for pregnant women and their babies and causes even more hospitalisations and deaths.

 

Debra Thoms: Babies under six months of age are too young to get the influenza vaccine themselves. The only way they can be protected in their first months of life is if their mother gets a vaccine during pregnancy.

 

Influenza immunisation in pregnancy is safe and offers young babies over 60% protection.

 

It’s best given before the flu season starts but you can immunise pregnant women against influenza later in the year and late in pregnancy and it will still give some protection.

 

Brendan Murphy: The most important thing is to offer the vaccine during pregnancy to any mum who hasn’t been immunised.

 

Debra Thoms: Pregnant women are significantly more likely to accept influenza immunisation if their obstetrician, GP or midwife recommends it.

 

Brendan Murphy: Influenza immunisation should be a routine part of antenatal care.

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Influenza immunisation is recommended as a routine part of standard antenatal care. Pregnant women are significantly more likely to accept influenza immunisation if their obstetrician, GP or midwife recommends it.