Recommended vaccinations in pregnancy
Influenza immunisation is recommended and offered free to pregnant women, anyone aged 65 years and over, and anyone aged under 65 years with a medical condition that increases their risk of developing complications from influenza.
Influenza vaccine can be administered to women planning pregnancy and pregnant women in any trimester. Women who are breast feeding can safely have the influenza vaccine. No adverse consequences for a breast feeding infant have been observed following vaccination of lactating women.
Influenza immunisation protects around 7–8 pregnant women out of 10 from serious influenza related illness requiring hospital treatment. Around half of infants whose mother had an influenza immunisation during pregnancy are also protected from influenza for up to 6 months after birth.
Postpone vaccination if individual suffering from a fever over 38°C. However, the presence of a minor infection is not a reason to delay immunisation.
The best protection for infants is for their mother to be vaccinated during pregnancy followed by on-time immunisations for the infant at 6 weeks, 3 months and 5 months. Children are further protected with booster vaccines at four years and 11 years of age.
When a pregnant woman is vaccinated against whooping cough her body develops high levels of antibodies (disease-specific protective proteins) which will pass through the placenta. These help protect the newborn from severe whooping cough for the first few months of life, until the infant has had their own three doses of vaccine and can make their own longer-term protection.
A booster dose of a whooping cough vaccine (Boostrix®) is recommended for every pregnancy and is free for women between 28-38 weeks of pregnancy.
Breastfeeding does not provide direct effective protection against whooping cough.
All infants or children with pertussis should be excluded from early childhood services, school or community gatherings until they are well enough to attend and have either received five days of antibiotics or three weeks have elapsed since the onset of coughing spasms.
It is also recommended that close family contacts of young infants, such as grandparents and fathers have a booster dose of pertussis vaccine to reduce spread of the disease. Older siblings should be up-to-date with their immunisations.