UK's Royal Colleges: COVID-19 makes flu vaccination essential for the pregnant

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All pregnant women in the UK have been urged by doctors to get a free flu vaccination this winter to ensure they and their babies are protected. The Independent reports that people can get infected with flu and coronavirus at the same time – with Public Health England finding if you get both simultaneously you may get more seriously ill.

Researchers previously said those who have been infected with both viruses face a serious increase to their risk of death and warned the public “not to be complacent” in the wake of fears flu could circulate around the country alongside COVID-19.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and Royal College of Midwives note while getting flu is not a big deal for most people, getting the virus while you are pregnant can be serious for a small proportion of women and their babies. Flu can occasionally lead to stillbirth, maternal death and raise the chances of having a miscarriage.

Dr Camille Smyth, an obstetrician at Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust, said: “As a doctor who cares for pregnant women, I have seen first-hand the harm that respiratory viruses such as the flu can have on some pregnant women. I am pregnant with my second baby and I want to do all I can to stay well this winter, so I will be taking up the offer of the free flu vaccine, which is safe at any stage of pregnancy.”

Dr Edward Morris, president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said: “We are keen to reassure pregnant women that flu vaccination is safe for women to have at any stage in pregnancy – from the first few weeks right up to their due date, and while breastfeeding.

Full report in The Independent

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