Hertfordshire mother-to-be urges parents to protect their children against the flu

Stevenage mum Donna Flood receiving her flu jab.

Stevenage mum Donna Flood receiving her flu jab. - Credit: Archant

A mother-to-be who has protected herself and her child against the flu has urged others to follow suit and not put themselves at risk.

Donna Flood and her two-year-old daughter have both had the flu vaccination, but health chiefs are concerned that only a quarter of the two million youngsters aged between two and four who are entitled to a free nasal spray have so far been vaccinated.

Those under five are more likely to be admitted to hospital with flu than any other age group, with pregnant mothers also at greater risk.

A national maternal deaths report released on Tuesday by Public Health England shows that among women who died in or shortly after pregnancy between 2009 and 2012, flu was the cause of death in one in 11.

Within this period, a total of 36 pregnant women died with strains of the flu virus that the free vaccine will protect against.

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Donna, who lives in Stevenage, said: “I had the flu vaccination when I was pregnant with my first child three years ago and again now I am expecting my second baby. The midwives I have seen during the course of my pregnancy have been very supportive and encouraging to all pregnant women and the need to be immunised, highlighting the need to stay healthy and well.

“I don’t believe the potential risks of not having the vaccination are worth taking for my baby or myself, especially when all it takes is a quick visit to my GP surgery. My daughter is now two years old and has had the nasal flu vaccination this year as well.”

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People with flu are approximately 11 times more likely to die if they have an underlying health condition but only 52 per cent of those aged from six months to 65 years affected took up the offer of the free flu vaccine between November 2013 and March 2014.

As well as children aged two to four, pregnant women and those with long term conditions, anyone aged over 65 can also get a free vaccination.

To get a free vaccination contact your GP surgery or visit a participating pharmacy.

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