Improving immunisation for pregnant women
Studies also show the importance of an explanation during the decision-making process that addresses the risks associated with influenza disease, the effectiveness of vaccination for the woman and her baby, and the excellent safety record of influenza vaccination during pregnancy.(33-36)
Funded influenza vaccination for eligible pregnant women is provided through general practice, some antenatal clinics and some community pharmacies.
It is recommended that women who become pregnant after winter and have not received the current influenza vaccination are offered influenza vaccination up to and including 31 December. Influenza vaccination of pregnant women should be recorded on the NIR to help monitor vaccination coverage and assess influenza protection.
2. Make a clear recommendation for the woman to receive an influenza vaccination during pregnancy
Funded influenza vaccine for pregnant people
One dose of the inactivated quadrivalent influenza vaccine is recommended each influenza season/year that a woman is pregnant.
Best time to be vaccinated
Influenza vaccination can be given at any time during pregnancy. It is preferable to vaccinate as soon as the vaccine is available, well before the start of winter. This is an idea opportunity to discuss other vaccinations recommended in pregnancy, whooping cough booster vaccine (Tdap) and COVID-19 vaccination. These vaccines can be administered at the same visit.
Receiving two influenza vaccinations
An individual who is pregnant across two influenza seasons is recommended to have an influenza vaccination in both seasons. A pregnant individual's risk from influenza also increases with gestational age. No minimum time is required between an influenza vaccination in 2022 and one in 2023.
Concomitant influenza and whooping cough booster vaccination
If in the second or third trimester, the influenza vaccine and whooping cough booster vaccine (Tdap) can be administered at the same visit. Both vaccines are funded for pregnant women.
Concomitant influenza and COVID-19 vaccination
The influenza vaccine and COVID-19 vaccine (Comirnaty) are recommended at any stage of pregnancy. They can be given at the same time or separately.
History of miscarriage
Influenza vaccination does not increase the risk of miscarriage. However, catching influenza can increase the risk.
Post-partum or breastfeeding individual
The influenza vaccine can be given post-partum and to those who are breastfeeding. An increased risk of influenza complications continues for a few weeks post-partum, as normal heart and lung function return. Protecting the breastfeeding individual can help prevent them from becoming infected and transmitting influenza to their baby. Breastfeeding after vaccination may offer the baby some protection against influenza.
Not a live vaccine
The influenza vaccine used in New Zealand does not contain any live viruses; the influenza viruses are completely inactivated and cannot cause influenza.
No preservatives in AFLURIA QUAD
AFLURIA QUAD is preservative free, including thiomersal.
Pregnant people who work with children should be vaccinated
Influenza infection rates are generally highest in children, and they are a major source of the spread of influenza. The influenza virus may be found in respiratory secretions (breathing, coughing and sneezing) for 2 weeks or longer in children. The risk of exposure to the influenza virus is higher and, for pregnant women, so is their risk of influenza disease and serious complications. It is also important for all people working with children, and especially young babies, to be vaccinated against influenza to reduce the risk of passing influenza onto them.