Flu vaccination is just the shot for pregnant women
JUST one in five pregnant women on the Fraser Coast is immunised against the flu, with health experts warning mums-to-be and their unborn babies have an increased risk of complications.
But women in all stage of pregnancy can now get free vaccinations under the National Immunisation Program, and medical experts are urging them to take advantage of the immunisation.
Across the Wide Bay area one of the battles health professionals face is making pregnant women know that this preventative measure is available to them.
"Pregnant women are at increased risk of severe flu and complications from having the flu," Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service public health physician Margaret Young said.
"It became obvious during the flu pandemic in 2009 that pregnant women had greater risk of severe and complicated flu, with a small but definite increase in risk of poor birth outcomes."
Flu vaccine has been shown to be safe and effective when given in pregnancy. Its use in all stages of pregnancy is encouraged by the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
In the past two weeks in the Wide Bay area there have been 14 laboratory-confirmed cases and 44 cases year to date in the general population.
The number of cases is tracking higher than at this time in 2012.
The National Immunisation Program has funded flu vaccine for all people aged 65 years and older and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over for a number of years.
The program also funds flu vaccine for people with a range of chronic conditions that increase the risk of severe flu - including chronic heart disease, severe asthma and chronic lung conditions, diabetes, renal failure.
Year to April 8