Whooping Cough and Influenza Vaccination in Pregnancy

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Influenza

Influenza is a potentially life threatening illness, with outbreaks of types A and B responsible for the most serious cases. Pregnant women are known to be at higher risk of severe complications of influenza infection. This risk is increased in pregnancy due to the large number of changes that occur to a women’s body during pregnancy. For example; a change to lung function, increased cardiac output, increased oxygen use and changes to their immune systems.

The best known way to protect pregnant women against the Influenza is by vaccinating them against it. Repeat vaccination is required each year as the influenza virus always changes. Vaccinating during pregnancy provides protection for the mother and the new born baby for the first 6 weeks of life after birth.

Research has demonstrated that the influenza vaccine is safe for women in all trimesters of pregnancy. No unusual patterns in pregnancy outcomes or foetal outcomes have been observed or reported.

In Australia, our national immunisation program and schedule provides pregnant women with their influenza vaccination for free.

At Panaceum Medical and University Medical Practice – the influenza vaccination is routinely offered by nursing and medical staff to all pregnant patients during normal routine antenatal visits.

Pertussis (Whooping Cough)

Since April 2015 the Pertussis vaccination was recommended for pregnant women in their third trimester. The population group at most risk of complication from pertussis are babies less than 6 months of age, particularly those less than 3 months of age.

Research has demonstrated that the delivery of the pertussis vaccine during pregnancy is 90% effective in preventing the disease in babies less than 3 months of age. This is done through the transference of protective maternal antibodies through the placenta, which provides protection against pertussis in early weeks of life before they are old enough to receive their routine childhood immunisations.

The vaccine is funded for mothers in third trimester (28 weeks gestation) onwards, but the ideal time is between 28 and 32 weeks gestation. There has been no evidence of any adverse pregnancy outcomes related to the administration of this vaccine during pregnancy.

The pertussis vaccine is combined with tetanus and diphtheria, and there is no information to suggest that these components are detrimental to the pregnancy or foetus. These additional components can sometimes cause a localised site reaction including some tenderness and ache with subsides relatively quickly.

Pertussis vaccination for fathers, grandparents, close family and other carers involved in the care of a child under the age of 6 month is highly recommended, however fees for the vaccine do apply. The Panaceum Group practices have both government funded and private vaccinations available for patients.

At Panaceum Medical and University Medical Practice Pertussis vaccination is automatically offered during your antenatal visits once you have reached 28weeks gestation.

You may be asked to sign a consent form or offered to be part of research that the Public Health Units conduct which follows those patients having the vaccines to monitor their experiences, and uptake of the vaccination during Pregnancy.

For patients wishing to have their influenza vaccine at the Panaceum Group – Please Ring please ring Panaceum Medical (08) 9920 8111 or University Medical Practice (08) 9923 9999