Renewed calls for ‘at risk’ groups to get flu vaccine as symptoms spread

A ‘SIGNIFICANT’ increase in the number of people with flu-like symptoms arriving at Accident and Emergency has been seen in Boston and hospitals across the county.

United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) has observed the spike for Pilgrim and its other hospitals. Meanwhile, a corresponding trend at the region’s GP surgeries has been reported by the Health Protection Agency (HPA).

A spokesman for the HPA said in the two weeks running up to and including the Christmas period, levels of flu-like illness in the East Midlands (in terms of people seeing the GP) rose from 52.9 consultations per 100,000 to 84.1 consultations per 100,000.

This is slightly above average for this time of year, the spokesman said.

A ULHT spokesman said the rise at its hospitals was ‘in line’ with expectations.

Concern remains, however, as vaccine uptake among ‘at risk’ groups nationally remains low.

The HPA spokesman said: “Flu vaccination offers the best protection from seasonal flu and we continue to urge those in risk groups, including pregnant women at any stage of their pregnancy and healthcare workers, to get vaccinated as soon as possible.”