Flu Vaccine and Pregnancy

What are the risks of the flu (influenza) infection if I’m pregnant?

Pregnancy can increase your risk of having more serious complications from the flu because your immune system is suppressed in pregnancy.

Complications of the flu infection in pregnant women are the same for the rest of the population but in severe cases the flu can increase your risk of miscarriage or premature labour.

Is the vaccine safe if I’m pregnant?

The Australian Government advises the vaccine is safeflu vaccine to have in all stages of pregnancy.

The possible side effects of the flu vaccine are the same as for the rest of the population.

The flu vaccine cannot give you or your unborn baby the flu because it contains no active virus.

Am I eligible for a free vaccination?

Yes. All pregnant women (in any trimester) are eligible to receive the free seasonal flu vaccine. Please note, your doctor may charge a consultation fee.

What are the possible side effects of the flu vaccine?

Pain, redness and swelling at the injection site like any medication. Occasionally you may experience:

  • a low grade temperature
  • muscle aches
  • drowsiness or tiredness
  • a temporary small lump at the injection site

Most side effects are minor and last a short time, resolve without any treatment and do not lead to any long-term problems. Generally, mild reactions begin within six to 12 hours. As with any medication, very rarely there is the possibility of a severe allergic reaction which will usually occur within 15 minutes of receiving a vaccine. Hence stay in your GP’s surgery a short time after the injection to make sure all is ok.


Posted by Dr Gary Sykes on -

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