At the start of January 2021, community midwives at ESHT introduced a new service offering prenatal vaccinations against seasonal influenza and whooping cough, for those who are pregnant.

This new service is offered at the 20-week anomaly scan and has been very positively received. In January, 402 vaccinations were administered at the Conquest, Hastings and Eastbourne DGH. 

Sarah Keeling, Specialist Midwife for Public Health at ESHT, said: “Those who are pregnant will benefit from the flu vaccine because it reduces their risk of serious complications, such as pneumonia, particularly in the later stages of pregnancy.  Having the vaccine also reduces the risk of miscarriage or having a baby born too soon or with a low birth weight.  The flu vaccine will help protect the baby who will continue to have some immunity to flu in the first few months of their life and reduce the chance of the mother passing the flu to her new baby. Helping protect against the flu is also particularly important with Covid-19 in circulation because people vulnerable to Covid-19 are also at risk of complications from flu.” 

“Getting vaccinated against whooping cough in pregnancy is highly effective in protecting new babies from developing whooping cough in the first few weeks of their life. The immunity received from the whooping cough vaccine passes to the baby through the placenta and provides passive protection for them until they are old enough to be routinely vaccinated against whooping cough at 8 weeks old.”

The response that the Trust has received since the start of this vaccination programme has been very positive, including quotes from patients such as:

“This is brilliant. I now don’t have to sort out childcare so that I can go to the GP.”

“I wasn’t going to bother as I hate going out at the moment.”

Rachel Smailes (pictured) had her flu vaccine even though she “doesn’t like needles.”