New flu fears as vaccination rates among pregnant women fall by a third
Flu vaccination rates among pregnant women are a third lower than this time last year, according to Health Protection Agency data.
In the week ending January 29, 26.4 per cent of pregnant women in England were vaccinated, down from 37.5 per cent in the same week last year.
It comes as Dr Maureen Baker from the Royal College of GPs said the UK could still see a flu outbreak within the next few weeks.
Figures show the number of pregnant women having the flu vaccination have dropped
She told GP magazine that the usual seasonal spike in flu activity has yet to emerge this winter.
She said: 'There's obviously a huge entrenched resistance to having the flu vaccine when pregnant.'
She said pregnant women are 'reluctant' to take anything that they think may affect their unborn babies, adding: 'More work needs to be done to understand the resistance in pregnant women.'
At the end of January, 73.9 per cent of over-65s had had their flu jab, up slightly on the 72.6 per cent in the previous year.
Health chiefs have warned pregnant women have a higher risk of complications from flu, including risks to their unborn child, than healthy women
Among under-65s in at-risk groups – such as those with diabetes, liver disease, asthma or chest problems and neurological conditions – 51.4 per cent had had their jab, up on the 49.8 per cent in the previous year.
England's Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies, has said that she wants to see 75 per cent of over-65s get vaccinated this year, alongside 60 per cent of under-65s in at-risk groups, including pregnant women.
Pregnant women have a higher risk of complications from flu, including risks to their unborn child, than healthy women.