Flu jab appeal to pregnant women in north Essex
Pregnant women in north Essex are being urged to get their free flu jabs after figures showed the current take-up was "worryingly low".
NHS North Essex said 18% had so far had the jab, compared to 40% at the end of last year's vaccination campaign.
Since 2009 pregnant women have been entitled to a free vaccination, along with other "high-risk groups".
Public Health consultant Dr Pam Hall said: "It's really important they get themselves protected."
"There is good evidence that pregnant women are at increased risk from complications if they contract flu.
"As such, all women are recommended to receive the seasonal flu vaccine, irrespective of their stage of pregnancy."
Dr Hall believed one of the reasons for this year's slow take-up was a lack of awareness of its availability.
She added: "I also think partly because it's been a mild winter so far and the flu season hasn't really properly got going yet.
"The thing is, it takes a couple of weeks for the vaccination to work, so people need to get on it now, before the season starts."