Every year, people aged 60 and over and people with certain medical conditions can get the free flu vaccination. On the recommendation of the Health Council of the Netherlands, the free flu vaccination will now also be made available to pregnant women. They can get the flu vaccination from their GP later this year. From 2023, all pregnant women will get an invitation from their midwife or gynaecologist during the flu season. They can then get the flu vaccination at the well-baby clinic, where they also get the whooping cough vaccination in week 22 of their pregnancy. This means that pregnant women will be able to get both these vaccinations at the same address.
In 2022, pregnant women will need to report to their GP for the vaccination
In the coming period, the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) and the professional organisations involved, such as the Royal Dutch Association of Midwives (KNOV), the Dutch Society for Obstetrics and Gynaecology (NVOG) and parties working in youth health care, will work on implementing the flu vaccination for pregnant women. Since many arrangements need to be made, this cannot be implemented for youth health care this year. Therefore, this year, all women who are 22 weeks pregnant or more can report to their GP from 1 October until 31 December for the free flu vaccination.
Flu vaccination for baby and mother
The flu vaccination offers newborn babies the best possible protection against the potentially serious consequences of the flu. In addition, pregnant women who get the flu vaccine reduce the risk of pregnancy complications caused by the flu. In most cases, the flu does not cause complications in newborn babies and pregnant women. However, the flu can cause breathing difficulties that sometimes require hospital admission.
Vaccination during pregnancy is safe. After a pregnant woman is vaccinated, her body creates antibodies that are passed on to the baby through the placenta. In this way, the baby is better protected after birth. The baby can still get the flu, but it is much less likely, and even if the baby gets the flu, it is usually a mild form of the disease.