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At-risk groups urged to get a flu jab
10:32am Monday 2nd December 2013 in News
FOR MANY it can be nothing more than an inconvenient illness but for some in Hampshire the flu can be a killer.
But despite this, fewer people in the most at risk groups are taking up the chance to protect themselves against the potentially fatal virus, despite being offered a free vaccine.
Latest figures from the Wessex region show that just over 55 per cent of over 65s have been vaccinated, while just 26 per cent of pregnant women have had the jab.
And despite this year, for the first time, free flu jabs being offered to two and three-year-olds, just 28 per cent of children aged two and only 25 per cent of three-year-olds have been vaccinated. Doctors across the region are urging people not to run the risk of getting the flu, and to book their jab now before it is too late.
Those at most risk – who are 11 times more likely to die from flu – include pregnant women, people living with a health condition such as severe asthma, chest or heart complaints, and those aged 65 and over.
Medics are warning that in recent years, critical care units across the region have been busy with people who should have been vaccinated against flu but instead ended up so seriously ill over Christmas that they had to be ventilated as doctors battled to keep them alive.
Most of these patients were young and middle aged adults with long term health conditions, and pregnant women, who should have been vaccinated. Consultant Clare Simpson, of NHS England Wessex Area Team, said: “For the majority of people flu is an unpleasant illness but it can be very serious and even life threatening for older people and those at risk of developing complications.
“Across Wessex, GP’s are busy vaccinating those most at risk, including the over 65s and whilst figures for some at risk groups may be down on last year we are working hard to make Wessex ‘Flu Safe’.”
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