Pregnant women in the UK have been urged to take the seasonal flu jab.
The Government has unveiled a one-off move offering the seasonal injection to expectant mothers because the jab will also guard against swine flu.
Pregnant women are at higher risk if they contract swine flu than other groups, and this year’s flu jab will safeguard against the disease along with two other flu strains.
An estimated 500,000 pregnant women are expected to take the jab along with the normal target groups: over 65s, health workers and people with diseases such as diabetes.
Overall more than 14 million people are in line to receive the seasonal treatment, and the Department of Health has urged everyone who is at risk to make sure they have the injection.
Traditionally the take-up of the jab varies among the different groups, with 75% of elderly people having it, 50% of those with health complaints and just slightly more than 10% of health professionals coming forward.
Government officials have said GPs will have already started receiving the vaccine, with the £100 million programme set for completion by December.
Professor David Salisbury, director of immunisation for the government, said people would be “foolhardy” to let fears about the swine flu strain stop them having the seasonal jab.
He said: “To not have the vaccine because of a prejudice about swine flu is putting yourself at unnecessary risk. That attitude is ignoring the realities of the risk.”
Copyright Press Association 2010