Fewer pregnant women getting flu vaccine in Oxfordshire

FEWER pregnant women in Oxfordshire received a flu vaccine last winter, figures suggest.

Figures from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) show that 9,525 pregnant women were registered at GP practices in the county over the 2021/22 winter – but only 4,651 received a flu jab between September and the end of February.

That equated to an uptake rate of 48.8 per cent – down from 50.5 per cent in 2020/21.

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Across England, just 37.9 per cent of pregnant women got the flu vaccine in 2021/22 – down from 43.6 per cent in 2020/21.

The UKHSA said delays in GP practices updating records meant the uptake rate is likely to be an underestimate.

Dr Pat O’Brien, vice president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said: “Developing flu during pregnancy can be serious for women and their babies because pregnancy weakens the immune system and results in a greater risk of complications and other infections, such as bronchitis than can develop into pneumonia.

“The reduction in uptake might be down to people feeling less concerned about flu last year due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, or may be related to inaccurate information circulating last year about the Covid-19 vaccine and pregnancy.”

This story was written by Liam Rice, he joined the team in 2019 as a multimedia reporter.

Liam covers politics, travel and transport. He occasionally covers Oxford United.

Get in touch with him by emailing: Liam.rice@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter @OxMailLiamRice

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