As winter kicks in the Government is eager to spread the message that pregnant women need to get their flu jabs.
So-called high risk groups, which include 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. You will be able to book an appointment with your doctor or local health centre.
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.
The Department of Health says that it’s important this trend continues through to the end of the year, with the hope last year’s uptake will be beaten.
Even if you were immunised last year, book an appointment to get the jab as the virus changes every year and your protection needs to be updated.
For more information, read the Department of Health’s Cold Weather Plan.