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19 November 2011, 06:00
NHS Norfolk and Waveney are reminding pregnant women of the importance of having the free NHS flu jab.
The current vaccination rate among all pregnant women in the county is only around one in ten, meaning around 90% still aren't having it.
Jonathan Williams, an Assistant Director of Public Health at NHS Norfolk and Waveney, said: "We have to take influenza seriously, it can be a particularly nasty virus and in some cases be life threatening.
Women who are pregnant can get very ill if they get flu and should have the jab at whatever stage of pregnancy they are in. Having the jab may also protect the baby against flu during its early months of life when it is too young to have the vaccination itself.
The vaccine has been rigorously tested and is safe. If you have any queries, please ask your GP or midwife."
Seasonal flu is responsible for the deaths of about 8,000 people a year - many of them are elderly. In the average winter, up to 15% of the population will be affected by seasonal flu.
The NHS says the vaccination does not offer 100% protection from catching seasonal flu, but out of every 100 people immunised, 70 to 80 will be protected.
All people aged 65 and over qualify for the free annual seasonal flu jab.
In addition, adults and children aged six months to 65 years who have the following conditions are deemed to be at risk and can contact their GP for the free jab:
* Chronic respiratory disease, including asthma
* Chronic heart disease
* Chronic kidney disease
* Chronic liver disease
* Diabetes requiring insulin or oral hypoglycaemic drugs or diet controlled
* Other immunity issues
People who had the seasonal flu vaccination last year will need a new seasonal flu jab this winter because the virus changes every year and the vaccine needs to match the latest version of the virus.
GP surgeries invite you for your seasonal flu vaccination. If you haven’t been invited yet, you can contact your GP for more information, or visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/flu-jab