The Flu Vaccine & Pregnancy

Impact of flu during pregnancy
It is highly recommended that women should get a flu vaccine at any stage when you are pregnant. During pregnancy, her immune system changes and so she can accommodate carrying the baby. This changes her immune system makes her more vulnerable in getting the flu as it could result in complications during pregnancy such as miscarriage, premature birth, lower birth rate and even stillbirth. This vaccine will help your newborn during the first few months of life.

How do I get vaccinated?
Flu vaccination is available from your GP or Pharmacist.

Is it safe to go to your GP or pharmacist to get a flu vaccine during Covid-19 pandemic?
Yes. GPs and pharmacist follow HSE covid-19 guidance to prevent infection and to keep you safe when you visit their premises.

How safe is a flu vaccine during pregnancy?
The flu vaccine has been given to millions of pregnant women for more than 50 years. Reactions are generally mild and serious side effects are very rare.

When should I get vaccinated?
If you are already pregnant the vaccine should be given in Autumn each year. In the Northern Hemisphere, the flu season lasts from early October to the end of April.
If you are pregnant through flu seasons, two flu vaccines, one in each season, are needed.

Can the flu vaccine be given at the same time as whooping cough (Tdap) vaccine during pregnancy?
Yes. You can have flu and Tdap vaccines at the same time. The vaccines are usually given in different arms.

How long does it take for the vaccine to work?
The vaccine starts to work within two weeks.

What to expect after a flu vaccine
The most common side effects are mild and may include soreness, redness and swelling where the injection was given. Headache, fever, aches and tiredness may occur. Some people may experience some sweating and shivering as their immune system responds to the vaccine, but this is not the flu and will pass after a day or so.

What to do if you’re not feeling well after the flu vaccine?
Take paracetamol if you have a temperature after the flu vaccine to keep you and your baby safe from fever.
DO NOT take aspirin or ibuprofen unless advised by your obstetrician.
If you are feeling unwell after the vaccine it could be for some other reason. Seek medical advice if needed.

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