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Q&A about flu jabs during pregnancy with NHS - ANSWERS BACK

(52 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 04-Oct-12 10:32:02

The NHS are taking your questions this week about the flu jab. Send your questions before the end of Tuesday 9 October to Dr Cathy Read, flu expert for the Department of Health and Dr Richard Pebody, Influenza lead from the Health Protection Agency and we'll link to their answers on 18th October.

The NHS experts say:
"It's the start of flu season and every year people die from a flu-related illness. Did you know that pregnant women are 18 times more likely to end up in hospital if they develop flu complications? If you are pregnant, getting the flu jab will protect both you and your baby. Other people who need the jab are:

Children and adults with long term health conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, and heart or neurological conditions. For a full list of at risk health conditions see

Those who care for people with health problems - either in health or social care or as an unpaid carer

Over 65s.

There are lots of myths about the flu jab. Research shows that it is safe to be given at any stage of pregnancy; there is no evidence of problems for pregnant women or their babies; and getting a flu jab during pregnancy will give immunity against flu to babies for the first six months of their life. The jab can't give you flu because it contains no live virus and you do need one every year. If you have a long term health condition such as asthma, diabetes or a neurological condition, you are also at risk of developing serious complications and need a flu jab".

This Q&A has been sponsored by the NHS

minipie Thu 04-Oct-12 12:20:35

I've had the jab at 30 weeks pregnant. Can you tell me more about the protection the jab will give to my baby once born - how long will it last?


shoppingtrolley Thu 04-Oct-12 12:54:26

I am due on 12 Oct and got a letter about organising a flu jab. Do you think, as I am due so soon, I can ignore the letter and not have one?

owlface Thu 04-Oct-12 13:34:13

How is it tested thoroughly to rule out any longer term side effects if new strains, eg swine flu, are added?

Spice17 Thu 04-Oct-12 13:52:08

I had mine on Mon 1st Oct at 39+2. Just wondering if the baby will indeed receive protection/immunity if I go into labour on my due date of 06/10/12?

Also the jab left a red raised lump this time - is this because I'm pregnant (not happenbed before and didn't hurt ant the time)

Clarella Thu 04-Oct-12 14:59:38

I've had both flu and whooping cough jabs this morning. Does the flu jab just protect pregnant mums when we are a little more vulnerable or does it pass on immunity to protect baby when born as the whooping cough jab does? If not, is it worth DH getting it from a pharmacy (he's been a little worried about teaching undergrad students and passing on 'freshers flu' to me or baby).

Clarella Thu 04-Oct-12 15:01:55

Apologies, baby brain didn't read the 'immunity for 6 months' bit!

minipie Thu 04-Oct-12 15:19:46

Clarella I clearly missed that bit too! oops, ignore my question please blush

Clarella Thu 04-Oct-12 15:39:05

[Grin] mini!

My only other point to your experts, mnhq is that I think some people are more puzzled about the whooping cough vaccination and the fact its a combined one, as well as anxiety about missing out on the antibodies passing to baby if over 38 wks, though we seem to have been told that they can still have it to minimise catching it and infecting baby after birth. I've felt very comfortable having it but I'm sure there's some who are less happy and might a appreciate similar q & a?

shoppingtrolley Thu 04-Oct-12 17:23:15

Where is the 'A' bit? I thought someone would answer my question!

minipie Thu 04-Oct-12 17:28:30

Answers appear on 18th October shopping

Yes, to second Clarella's post, can we also have a Q&A about the whooping cough vaccine please? I am finding that a much more difficult decision. I am worried as I have read that it is not the same vaccine that has been used for some years in the US/other countries, it includes polio for example. Why can't we have a separate whooping cough vaccine, or use the same form of combined vaccine that has been tried and tested elsewhere?

growyourown77 Thu 04-Oct-12 18:14:14

Does the flu jab mean flu (if those strains) will be avoided it just that serious risks are minimised?

Do you feel fluey from the jab on the day?

I'd like to know about the other jab too...not been mentioned by mw.


Nightfall1983 Thu 04-Oct-12 20:09:25

Not quite on topic but almost: If a breastfeeding mother has the jab will that pass on protection to her baby too? Can this be done on the NHS?

Shriek Thu 04-Oct-12 20:37:03

Isn't Mercury extremely harmful?

apparently there are "....25 mcg in one average flu vaccine, and the EPA safety limit is 5 micrograms, so children who are vaccinated simultaneously...... " and how about pregnant mothers... ?

I think its important to have a robust scientific eivdence stating that there are absolutely no dangers to injecting mercury into your bloodstream before even considering such a step.... I wonder if people really are aware of the implications for themselves and their babies, and if the NHS have such data and are ready to review it publicly?

Anyone worried about potential risks to themselves or foetus should type this into google: mercury effects on pregnancy; and review the risks for themselves, even just through fish consumption for instance!

Is it ok to inject heavy metals into us/babies/children? Can we have independent knowledge, rather than information from anyone with a vested interested (like the pharmacy giants who are fighting hard to convince the public that the NSH must spend its vital money on 'blanket' injection programmes, regardless of those at individual risk.

Shriek Thu 04-Oct-12 20:44:08

To one of the questions... I believe that after 10 years a company's exclusive licence to sell a jab expires, after which time a generic can be made copying the original but undercutting the costs of the original... very much like paracetomol can now be purchased for pennies.

So the company generally repackages and 'rebrands' their jab, like the MMR, used to be single doses, but now its mooted (or possibly already out there) that chicken or another illness would be included in the dose, so that would be sold under exclusive licence for another 10 years giving the pharmaceutical company another monopoly situation and all the profits.

mimmymouse Thu 04-Oct-12 20:55:48

I had the flu and the whooping cough jabs at 37+5 this week - in order to try and get the immunity across to the baby before delivery.

The first thing that was said to me about it by a colleague was: "it'll be thalidomide all over again". Now can't sleep from worry that I've poisoned my baby and might have caused it pain or suffering. I'm sure this colleague was speaking from a position of uninformed, though well-intentioned stupidity (she's an anti-vacciner), but scare mongering like this really hurts.

I'd love Dr Read and Dr Peabody to let us know that these jabs are thoroughly and expertly researched. Details would be welcome.

May I echo the calls for a Q&A on the whooping cough jab.

Many thanks.

YouMayLogOut Thu 04-Oct-12 20:56:29

How long do the ingredients stay in the body and what are their effects?

Shriek Thu 04-Oct-12 21:39:52

Mimmymouse... "it'll be thalidomide all over again" is quite a statement to make!... and doesn't really seem to actually 'mean' anything... what will be? .. the flu vaccine? I don't understand the link to thalidamide, ah maybe, that was insufficently researched I don't know.

I absolutely want to hear the truth either good or bad about how rigorous the pharmaceutical industry reasearch actually is. The American Environment Protection agency go into great deetail about there being widespread mercury detection in human tissue, which other studies report as being below harmful health levels, and I don't know if pregnant women are advised against eating fish for this reason, but we don't know what levels we already carry, and I would like some robust scientific studies stating the case. I know that there are many published in the BMJ, but more needs to be available to the public to make their own health decisions about the individual needs of their families.

I'd like to hear some completely 'impartial & independent' advice on here please, with more than the spoonfed information passed through the NHS generally, which makes broad sweeping meaningless statements on flyers, and which scaremonger adults and children alike about 'threats' to their lives.

Alltheflowers Thu 04-Oct-12 21:55:01

1. My 15 month old has a neurological disorder and is due to have the flu jab for the first time. Is it really safe for children and are there any risks?

2. I can't get the flu jab myself until end of October (I'm pregnant), is it safe to wait until then?

Shriek Thu 04-Oct-12 22:00:44

I note that you assume Mimmymouse that your colleague must [of course]... be uninformed and stupid'. I imagine that you must know the statistics that you base your judgement on, and can quote research, and know if it is valid indeed, or is rigorous in its findings? I can understand if what your colleague has said has scared you, and that is indeed most unhelpful, but maybe you could ask said colleague of their findings instead of believing them to be completely unfounded?

What is shows is there is insufficient public knowledge of evidence around pharmaceutical research/independent research on these vital topics around family health decisions.

Shriek Thu 04-Oct-12 22:04:51

It was my belief that mothers already have immunity as they are exposed all year every year, and unlikely to succumb to flu whilst taking good care of themselves generally, and that their immunity is passed to the baby anyway, and continued immunity through breast-feeding?

sasilasi Thu 04-Oct-12 22:20:28

I agree with Clarella's post regarding a Q&A on the whooping cough vaccine. I'm 39 weeks and have only just recently heard the advice to get a whooping cough seems like it's probably too late for me to get one to pass any immunity on now.

Shriek Thu 04-Oct-12 22:42:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Shriek Thu 04-Oct-12 23:16:49

the article on 'hike on women's car insurance premiums' belongs in a different thread and was posted here by accident.. ooops!... if there's a modder about, it might save confusion to remove it?

Shriek Fri 05-Oct-12 00:25:50

where does the first instance of each year's flu virus come from to make up a new vaccine?

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