Flu campaign launched in England

Nov. 3, 2012 at 10:55 AM
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LONDON, Nov. 3 (UPI) -- British health officials said they started an ad campaign too counter "a false sense of security," with fewer people getting flu shots this year than last year.

At this time last year, 55 percent of people over 65 in England had been given the flu shot, but this year it is less than 49 percent have been, The Daily Telegraph reported.

Health officials say they fear the mild winter last year, when there was virtually no flu around, has made people complacent.

"We have taken the decision this year to run a flu campaign because too many people in at risk groups have not come forward for the jab yet, although local campaigns have been running for the past month," said Public Health Minister Anna Soubry. "People may be lulled into a false sense of security about the seriousness of flu following a mild winter last year. The national campaign will build on the local 'flu safe' campaigns that have been running."

David Salisbury, director of immunization, said: "You are 11 times more likely to die from flu if you are pregnant or have a serious health condition and each year thousands of people die after catching flu. That's why we are reminding people who are particularly vulnerable to the consequences of flu to get the vaccine.

"Severe weather can be dangerous for vulnerable groups such as older people and those with serious illnesses. It's important for people to look after their health," Salisbury said.

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