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Swine flu warning for North Yorkshire and York mums-to-be and children
UPDATED: 08:23 03/12/09 DOCTORS have sent out a fresh swine flu appeal amid fears pregnant women and vulnerable children across North Yorkshire are not taking their chance to get protection against the virus.
People included in priority groups to receive vaccination against the illness are being invited to get the jab – but GPs say they are concerned many of those who are deemed to be in the highest risk bracket may be missing out.
NHS North Yorkshire and York, the region’s primary care trust (PCT), says some practices in the area it covers have reported not seeing as many expectant mothers or children in danger of becoming seriously ill from swine flu coming forward as they anticipated.
Their message about the importance of getting vaccinated comes after figures showed the number of people needing hospital treatment for suspected swine flu in York and North Yorkshire has risen in recent weeks.
Doctors say ‘at-risk’ children are those with underlying health conditions which leave them more open to the effects of swine flu, particularly youngsters who have complex special needs or ‘neuro-disability’ such as cerebral palsy, head injuries or dyspraxia.
The World Health Organisation estimates up to ten per cent of people hospitalised with swine flu are women who are more than three months’ pregnant.
Dr Phil Kirby, NHS North Yorkshire and York’s associate director of public health, said: “Although swine flu can be mild for most people, for others it is more serious.
“We are particularly concerned about pregnant women and children already deemed to be at risk from flu-like illnesses. These groups are likely to become more seriously ill from this new strain of the virus and therefore most likely to end up in hospital.
“I would strongly advise all those people who have been invited to have a swine flu vaccine by their GP to take this up. If you haven’t been contacted by your GP practice about getting the vaccine and you think you should have been, please get in touch with them.”
However, other North Yorkshire practices – such as Abbey Medical Group, on Tang Hall Lane, York, where huge queues formed this week – have seen high demand for the jabs.
Anybody worried they might have swine flu should phone the National Pandemic Flu Service on 08001 513100 or visit direct.gov.uk/pandemicflu More information about the vaccination programme is available at nhs.uk