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More mums-to-be in Dorset are being encouraged to get the flu jab.
Despite a good response to this year's flu campaign, figures show that only around twelve percent of mums-to-be who are not in a clinical at risk group are getting their flu jab in the county.
Every year, flu vaccinations are offered to those people who are considered at risk. This helps protect them against the most common strains of flu; and despite a good overall take up across Dorset, women who are pregnant are not accepting the offer of a jab or going to see their GP to ask for it.
During pregnancy, a woman's natural immunity to infection is reduced so they are more likely to become seriously ill if they get flu. What's more the vaccination can also help protect babies from flu during the first few months - helping give them a healthy start to life.
Jo Hartley, Head of Midwifery at Dorset County Hospital said
"Midwives are committed to ensuring that all pregnant women are reassured and correctly advised about the flu jab. It is very important that pregnant women are protected from this virus as they are at increased risk of being extremely ill should they contract flu.
"Speak to your midwife or contact the Maternity Unit for accurate, up to date advice about this important vaccination."
Denise Winter works with the NHS Dorset Public Health team and wants to increase awareness amongst women who are pregnant that they can get a jab. She said:
"I hear lots of different myths around flu, the main one being people thinking they have natural immunity. We are asking anyone who is considered in an at risk group to get protected. Even if you don't normally suffer from flu symptoms you could be carrying the virus and pass it on to other mums and babies without even realising it.
It has only been a recent development that women who are pregnant have been offered a flu jab; however we are working with local midwives to help raise awareness of this and encourage mums to take up the offer and get protected".
For more information please visit www.nhs.uk/flu