On the Agenda - Flu jab for mums of unborn babies

- In a nutshell

Pregnant women could be offered flu jabs to protect the health of hundreds of thousands of babies. A new study has found that the seasonal vaccination can benefit both the mother and newborn baby.

- Media coverage

The Daily Telegraph splashed on the story. It was also picked up by The Guardian, Daily Mail and The Sun.

- Where did the story originate?

The plan was triggered by a study in Bangladesh, where the flu vaccine was given to women after their seventh month of pregnancy. Researchers discovered cases of flu in babies were reduced by more than half after expectant mothers were immunised. PRWeek's Haymarket sister title GP magazine got the scoop.

- Hasn't this been suggested before?

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommended two years ago that the jab be given to mums-to-be. However, ministers were concerned the programme would be too expensive. They asked the JCVI to review the situation. Fresh evidence has now emerged that the committee believes would make an immunisation scheme more cost-effective.

- What is the NHS' response to the new study?

The NHS National Knowledge Service said in a statement: 'This is a reliable study, which, although conducted in Bangladesh, demonstrates the effectiveness of the vaccine. It will be used to inform policy in the UK, but more discussions will be needed.'

33% - Prevention of feverish respiratory illnesses in mothers and infants

63% - Reduction in flu in babies up to six months old.

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