Immunisation Week targets immunisation during pregnancy
Canterbury is celebrating Immunisation Week next week (May 2-8) with the rest of New Zealand’s key theme of ‘protecting baby starts in pregnancy’.
Dr Ramon Pink, Canterbury DHB Medical Officer of Health, says expectant mums are encouraged to get immunised during pregnancy, it’s important to immunise baby on time and enrol early with a midwife (Lead Maternity Carer) and general practice team.
“Get immunised while pregnant. It’s the best way to protect you and your baby from serious illnesses such as influenza and whooping cough (pertussis),” Dr Pink says.
He says protection for your baby against vaccine preventable diseases starts with mum.
The whooping cough vaccine is available between 32 and 38 weeks of pregnancy. It protects baby until they are fully vaccinated against whooping cough at 6 months of age. (Babies are vaccinated at 6 weeks, 3 months and 5 months).
“With Whooping Cough circulating within our community, it is really important to ensure baby is protected from birth, and vaccinating for influenza (flu) is important to protect yourself.
“Catching the flu during pregnancy can be serious for mothers. Pregnant women are five times more likely to be admitted to hospital when suffering from influenza-related complications than women who are not pregnant.
“Both these vaccines are free, recommended, and have a proven safety record. Talk to your midwife or general practice team.”
As well as encouragement to immunise pregnant women and babies on time, Immunisation Week also highlights the role of all health professionals working with new and expectant parents - midwives, practice nurses, general practices and hospital staff.
Frances Mansell, who is expecting her first child, recently had her influenza vaccination at her workplace and Whooping Cough vaccination at her general practice. Her partner has also been vaccinated for whooping cough (pertussis).
“Being pregnant I am at greater risk of getting influenza and suffering complications. For the sake of a slightly sore arm, why wouldn’t you get your vaccination,” she says.