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Flu Jab Warning

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3:40pm 6th October 2014

Only half of patients most at risk from flu in Cornwall are choosing to get the jab.

Figures seen by Pirate FM show even fewer toddlers had it last year.

Now a vaccination campaign is targeting parents, pregnant women and people with health problems.

For the first time four year olds are being offered a free nasal spray.

Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer, said:  "Flu is a really unpleasant illness, particularly for our most vulnerable patients and it is essential that people take steps to protect themselves during the winter months. I would urge those who are offered the free flu vaccination to visit their GP early in the flu season. I also urge all health care workers to make they are vaccinated to protect themselves, their patients and their families".

Professor Debra Lapthorne, Centre Director for the Devon, Cornwall and Somerset Public Health England Centre said: "The nasal spray is quick, easy and painless way to help prevent pre-school age children catching flu and the vaccine also helps to reduce the spread of flu to those who are more vulnerable.  

"People with certain long-term health conditions and in older age are at much greater risk of becoming seriously unwell if they catch flu and sadly, many end up in hospital. The best way people at higher risk of flu can protect themselves is to take up the offer of free vaccination from their GP as soon as it becomes available. Even people whose health conditions are well managed and who lead otherwise healthy lives should still have the flu vaccine - it's free because you need it.

"Last year, around 40 per cent of pregnant women protected themselves and their baby from flu by getting vaccinated.  This year we want to see more pregnant women and their babies protected. . Women can safely have the vaccine at any point during pregnancy and it can reduce the risk of complications such as pneumonia and premature birth, that can arise as a result of flu."

You can get more details, including a video showing how flu spreads, here:  visit nhs.uk/conditions/flu.     

3:40pm 6th October 2014

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