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Thousands put health at risk by shirking flu jab
5:30am Thursday 13th March 2014 in News
Thousands of Sussex people have been putting their health at risk by not having a flu jab.
Figures reveal scores of elderly, pregnant and vulnerable people across Sussex have not taken up the offer of a vaccine this winter.
GP practices around the county reported the number of people eligible for the free vaccine was below average.
Around 71% of over 65s had the vaccine compared to 73.2% nationally, while those in at risk groups, such as diabetics, had a take up rate of 50.1% compared to a national average of 52.3%.
The lowest take-up rate was among pregnant women, with only 35% getting themselves and their unborn children protected.
The national average is just under 40%, which health bosses say is still too low.
Experts say there is strong evidence pregnant women have an increased risk of developing complications if they get flu.
These include bronchitis and pneumonia and the increased chance of miscarriage.
Babies can also be born too early or have a low birth weight.
An NHS England spokesman said: “It is important that uptake rates of flu vaccines are improved and maintained to reduce levels of morbidity and mortality.
Prior to the flu season, NHS England put plans in place to improve uptake.
From Sept 2013, NHS England, in liaison with Public Health England (PHE), also monitored the uptake and vaccine ordering rates within primary care.
People are asked to speak to their GP for more information about the annual vaccine, which is available until the end of this month.
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