Top 3 questions – Flu vaccination & pregnancy with Professor Alison McMillan
Hear from Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, Professor Alison McMillan on why it’s important to get your flu vaccine when you’re pregnant.
Hi, my name is Alison McMillan and I'm the Commonwealth Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer. First, can I acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the lands on which we meet today. I'm here on the land of the Ngunnawal people, and my respects to Elders past, present and emerging.
Today, I'm talking about flu vaccination in pregnancy. Now, of course, we're into winter, and now is the time, if you haven't already had your flu vaccination, to get it. If you, particularly with a focus on pregnant women, it is definitely an important part of your protection for you and your baby.
So, the first question today is, is it safe for women to receive a flu vaccination at any stage of their pregnancy? And absolutely it is. So, at any stage of your pregnancy, whether you're preparing to be pregnant, working towards getting pregnant or breastfeeding, it's definitely safe to have a flu vaccination. There's lots of evidence to suggest that the vaccine can protect you, you and your baby, and no evidence to suggest that there's any adverse effects associated with the flu vaccination during pregnancy.
The second question today is what potential adverse reactions should pregnant women be aware of following the flu vaccination? So, firstly, there's no evidence to suggest that a pregnant woman having a flu vaccination has any other side effects than those that we all sometimes do suffer from. So, they're the normal things we can, we get when we get our flu vaccination. Sore arm sometimes, redness, a bit of heaviness in the arm, but those symptoms and those things that, as a result of the flu vaccination, are very short-lived and only really occur for a couple of days. But if you are at all concerned about getting vaccinated while you're preparing to be pregnant, are pregnant or breastfeeding, don't hesitate to talk to a health professional, your GP, a midwife, a nurse, your Aboriginal health worker, whoever, just to get that extra reassurance. If you've got some extra questions, it's really fine to ask questions.
So, the third question is, does getting the flu vaccination while pregnant protect unborn babies from flu? Yes, it definitely does too. And you can imagine that an unborn baby and a newborn baby are very susceptible to flu. And so, we do know that if a mother is vaccinated against flu during the pregnancy, it does provide that extra protection to that newborn baby. It also protects the mother because we do know that pregnant women are more susceptible, particularly to flu and can, therefore, suffer a more severe response and reaction, if they do contract flu. So, it's good for mother and it's good for baby. So again, the really important thing is if you have not yet had your flu vaccination and you're pregnant, now is the time to go ahead and get it done.
Thank you for listening and good day.
Top 3 questions
- Is it safe for women to receive a flu vaccination at any stage of their pregnancy?
- What potential adverse reactions should pregnant women be aware of following the flu vaccination?
- Does getting the flu vaccination while pregnant protect unborn babies from flu?