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Should pregnant women consider the flu vaccine?

Short answer: Yes.

Long answer… read on.

Safety first. If you are pregnant and have flu-like symptoms (check here for a full list of flu symptoms if you’re not sure) you should seek medical attention immediately from your doctor. Seeking help swiftly is really important if you are pregnant and potentially have the flu because there is a medicine, if given early, can help.

In Scotland, pregnant women are eligible to get their flu vaccine on the NHS. Check with our partner pharmacies or your GP about how to go about this.

Why is getting the flu vaccine a good idea for pregnant women?

Basically, the flu vaccine reduces the overall risk to women and the unborn child of flu. If a pregnant woman contracts flu this can increase the risk of both women an children possibly requiring care in an intensive care unit. The flu vaccine can reduce these risks. Below we describe some of the specific advantages fo the flu vaccine for pregnant women.

Passing on flu to baby

The flu vaccine can reduce the risk of the mother passing flu to the unborn child if she becomes infected.


Pneumonia at any stage of pregnancy is considered to be a serious complication of flu. The risk, which can be reduced by the flu vaccine, is most serious in the later stages of pregnancy so getting the flu vaccination in early pregnancy is a really sensible idea.

Premature birth

Quite simply the flu vaccine reduces the risk of the child being born prematurely or worse stillborn.

Benefits after birth

If a mother gets the flu vaccine both mother and baby will have protection (immunity) to the flu vaccine. A hidden advantage of mum getting the flu vaccine is that this protection (immunity) is actually known to continue after the child has been born. The youngster is therefore born with some protection (immunity) from the flu virus.

Intensive care

A final significant advantage of a pregnant woman getting the flu vaccine is that it can significantly reduce the chances of the mother and baby ending up needing intensive care. People who need intensive care are really very seriously ill and as in pregnancy, this should be avoided if possible. Another reason for pregnant women to get the flu vaccine.

And finally…

It is recommended that all women should have the flu vaccine. It has been established that flu vaccines can be given to pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy. This includes right from the beginning of pregnancy.

Thank you for reading.



The flu vaccination: who should have it and why – GOV.UK (

Scotland Winter vaccines | NHS inform

Check NHS.UK to find out if you are eligible.

The article was updated by pharmacist Johnathan Laird on November 15th 2022.

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