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Influenza vaccination during pregnancy

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.

Discuss influenza vaccination with pregnant women and their whānau:

1. Explain

  • The risk of influenza for the pregnant woman, her growing baby and her vulnerable newborn
  • The effectiveness of the vaccine in reducing the influenza risk for the woman and her baby, both during pregnancy and after birth
  • The excellent safety record of influenza vaccination during pregnancy; and the potential complications from catching influenza, which pose a greater threat to the woman and her baby

2. Make a clear recommendation for the woman to receive an influenza vaccination during pregnancy

FAQs about influenza vaccination during pregnancy

Is AFLURIA QUAD the funded influenza vaccine for pregnant women?
Yes. One dose of the inactivated quadrivalent influenza vaccine is recommended each influenza season/year that a woman is pregnant.

Why is an influenza vaccination recommended every year?
Yearly vaccination is recommended for two reasons: first, because protection from the previous vaccination lessens over time; and second, because the circulating influenza viruses can change and the strains in the vaccine usually change each year in response to the changing virus pattern.

Can a woman receive two influenza vaccinations during her pregnancy?
Yes. A woman who is pregnant across two influenza seasons is recommended to have an influenza vaccination in both seasons. In addition to the reasons explained above, a pregnant woman’s risk from influenza also increases with increasing gestation.

Is there a minimum interval between receiving an influenza vaccination at the end of 2021 and receiving one in 2022?
No. The 2022 influenza vaccination can be given as soon as the vaccine is available. No minimum time is required between an influenza vaccination in 2021 and one in2022.

When is the 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. The funded vaccine is available through to 31 December.

Can influenza and whooping cough booster vaccinations be given at the same visit?
If the woman is in her second or third trimester the influenza vaccine and whooping cough booster vaccine (Tdap) can be administered at the same visit at general practice and some antenatal clinics. Both vaccines are funded for pregnant women.

Can influenza and COVID-19 vaccinations be given at the same visit?
Pregnant women are recommended the influenza vaccine and COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer/BioNTech) at any stage of pregnancy. They can be given at the same time or separately.

Can women with a history of miscarriage receive an influenza vaccination?

Yes. Influenza vaccination does not increase the risk of miscarriage. However, catching influenza can increase the risk.

Can a post-partum woman receive an influenza vaccination? Will it protect her baby if she is breastfeeding?
It is safe for a breastfeeding woman to have the influenza vaccination. Breastfeeding may offer some initial influenza protection to her baby. However, babies will have more protection if their mother is vaccinated during pregnancy.

Is the influenza vaccine a live vaccine?
No. The influenza vaccine used in New Zealand does not contain any live viruses; the influenza viruses are completely inactivated and cannot cause influenza.

Are there any preservatives in AFLURIA QUAD, eg, thiomersal?
No. AFLURIA QUAD is preservative free.

Should pregnant women who work with children receive an influenza vaccination?
Yes. 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.

Vaccination and breastfeeding

The influenza vaccine can be given to a breastfeeding woman.
• Protecting the mother can help prevent her becoming infected and transmittinginfluenza to her baby.
• Breastfeeding mayoffer some protection against influenza

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