New Flu Scheme To Protect Women With High-Risk Pregnancies

Women with high risk pregnancies are now being offered the flu jag whilst attending ante-natal appointments at Forth Valley Royal Hospital. The new scheme has seen more than 50 women being vaccinated over the past two weeks, including Donna Yard, who is pictured receiving her vaccination from NHS Forth Valley midwife Julie Guest, and Aimee Fleming, Healthcare Assistant in NHS Forth Valley’s immunisation team.

Donna Yard explained: “When I got the option this morning I said yes. I am terrible for getting colds so now I am pregnant it seemed like a good idea to have a flu jag. It saves me making an appointment at the doctors. It is much more efficient this way.”

The offer of the flu vaccination is made during routine checks carried out by a Healthcare Assistant. In addition to blood pressure monitoring, the Mums-to-be are advised of the benefits of having a flu jag especially with a high-risk pregnancy. They are then directed to their midwife who gives the vaccination.

NHS Forth Valley Consultant in Public Health Medicine, Dr Henry Prempeh, said: “This scheme has been very well received by local pregnant women who welcome not having to make a separate appointment. The vaccination protects them from catching flu, an illness which can cause life-threatening complications.”

The new flu scheme operates on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and will continue until the end of March 2017. It is hoped that the scheme will become a permanent feature during the annual flu season.

Meanwhile almost 900 pregnant women  in Forth Valley who are out-with the high-risk category have also had a flu jag. Although this is the second highest uptake in Scotland, around 1,000 are still to come forward to receive the protective vaccine this year and Dr Prempeh is urging them to take up the offer.

Vaccination rates amongst other at-risk groups are also performing well. For almost a decade Forth Valley has had the enviable record of having the highest uptake rates amongst other ‘at risk’ groups, particularly the over 65s and unpaid carers. This year, NHS Forth Valley continues the trend and is the only Health Board to have already exceeded the national target of 75%.  However, there are still large numbers of individuals in the at-risk group who are still unprotected.

Dr Henry Prempeh highlighted: “We are still well within the flu season and I would therefore encourage all at-risk individuals to make every effort to get the flu vaccine from their local GP as soon possible.”