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Flu jab plea to region's pregnant women
A YOUNG mother is helping to launch the annual free flu jab campaign in the region, after concerns that the takeup among pregnant women was too low last year.
Sarah Lister, 27, from Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, agreed to help launch the big flu jab push after learning that large numbers of mumsto- be in the region ignored the call last autumn, potentially putting their babies at risk.
Last year, ten pregnant women in the North-East had to have intensive care treatment in hospital because they developed complications from flu.
Ms Lister, who is now mother to a healthy seven-month old girl, Mary, got her flu jab last year when she was five months pregnant.
As health bosses in the North-East urged pregnant women, the over-65s and anyone with a serious medical condition to have the protective jab, Ms Lister said: “I was really surprised to hear that take-up of the flu jab among pregnant women is really low.
“For me, it was an easy decision – I wanted to protect my unborn baby and myself, because flu can be a nasty virus which can have serious complications.
“I would urge anyone who is pregnant to get in touch with their GP practice and make an appointment as soon as they can. The flu jab is quick, safe and free, and will protect you and your baby throughout the winter.”
Ms Lister made her plea as the North-East Flu Safe Squad took to the streets to spread the annual free flu jab message.
An NHS spokesman said: “Flu is unpredictable, so it is important that all those at risk of serious illness if they catch flu are protected by the free flu jab.”
Also backing the campaign is Stephen Miller, from Ashington, Northumberland, captain of Team GB’s London 2012 Paralympic team.
Mr Miller, who won three gold medals, has cerebral palsy and looks after his health by having the flu jab every year.
He said: “I always have my flu jab and know it is important that vulnerable people protect themselves from flu.”
The flu vaccine is available now from GP surgeries and is free on the NHS to eligible people. All those at risk are urged to get the vaccine now.
For more information, speak to your GP or local pharmacist, or visit nhs.uk/ flu