The Government is eager to spread the message that pregnant women need to get their flu jabs in time for winter.
In England, pregnant women, patients aged 65 years and older, and patients aged under 65 years in risk groups are all eligible for a free flu vaccine.
Currently around 4,700 people die every year as a result of flu. David Salisbury, Director of Immunisation, warns, “You are 11 times more likely to die from flu if you are pregnant or have a serious health condition, and each year thousands die after catching flu. That’s why we are reminding people who are particularly vulnerable to the consequences of flu to get the vaccine.”
Final uptake figures from the Department of Health show that in 2010/2011 38% of pregnant women got their flu jab. In 2011/2012 this dropped to just 27.4%.
Current figures, taken from week ending October 28th 2012, suggest that uptake has increased this year, with 23.1% already getting their jab, compared to 13.6% at the same time last year.
It’s important this trend continues through to the end of the year to ensure as many pregnant women are protected as possible.
Even if you were immunised last year, pop along to your doctor or local health authority and get the jab, as the virus changes every year.
For more information, read the Department of Health’s Cold Weather Plan.