NHS issues warning over flu outbreak
HEALTH experts fear a flu outbreak could break out this winter because people have become too complacent about having the jab.
They say the absence of a pandemic for several years may have lulled the public into a false sense of security.
It comes as fewer people across North Staffordshire are having the flu jab each year.
Dr John Harvey, public health consultant with the clinical commissioning group (CCG) for Newcastle and the Staffordshire Moorlands, said: "This may be because different GP practices are coming up with different initiatives.
"As it is now some years since we had a flu pandemic people may be getting complacent about having the jab and we may have fallen a bit off-message for a time.
"There is therefore a need to remind the elderly, pregnant women and people with a long-term condition that they should have the jab.
"This is also the first year for some time that there has been no Government-backed information campaign."
CCG communications manager Tamsin Carr said the group was pressing ahead with targeted campaigns containing specific messages.
Latest figures show that last year only one-fifth of pregnant women in Stoke-on-Trent had the injection – 14.8 per cent less than in 2010. And in Newcastle and the Moorlands, the take-up rate was just 23.7 per cent – a 21 per cent fall on the previous year.
Around a quarter of the 75,000 pensioners locally had not come forward for the jabs which can save their lives.