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Staff Writer
All pregnant women are to be offered flu vaccination this winter in a bid to spread immunity against swine flu, it was announced today.

Government advisers say they remained concerned that a re-emergence of swine flu could put expectant women at risk.

Pregnant women were urged to get vaccination against swine flu when specific vaccines became available earlier this year - but the programme met widespread resistance.

Now the government hopes that routine vaccination will be more acceptable.

Today Professor David Salisbury, director of immunisation at the Department of Health, said: "This year, the swine flu virus will be one of the most common types of flu going around, and it is important to remind people to remember to get their annual flu jab.

"The vaccine will protect against three types of flu, including the type known as swine flu.

"As we know that this virus can pose additional risks to pregnant women, we are recommending this year, that all pregnant women are vaccinated."

He added: "People should not underestimate the effects of seasonal flu. It is not the same as getting a cold. It can seriously affect your health and the risks of developing complications are greater if you have certain pre-existing medical conditions.

"If you are in any of the identified at risk groups, my advice, especially at this time of the year is to visit your local GP surgery and get the vaccination as soon as possible. This is the best form of protection for you and others."

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