Despite some high-profile cases of mothers with swine flu dying shortly after giving birth, many pregnant women are still not getting vaccinated against the virus.

Only a third of expectant mothers have had the H1N1 jab, and health secretary Nicola Sturgeon is warning those who have yet to come forward that they are risking their babies' lives.

Ms Sturgeon said: "We know that pregnant women are more at risk of developing complications if they contract this illness, and vaccination will protect not only them but their unborn baby."

Expectant mothers are not the only targeted group who have been slow to take up the government's program of immunisation.

Only a quarter of those in at-risk groups have been vaccinated

We've reported before on ParentDish about some parent's reluctance to get their children vaccinated owing to concerns over potential side affects and also a general perception that swine flu 'isn't that bad'.

According to Ms Sturgeon, "Health boards and GP surgeries are continuing to focus their efforts to ensure that they are all offered the jab by Christmas."

However recent reports that the pandemic is not as bad as was initially feared, will not help encourage those who qualify for vaccination to get themselves to the doctor.

In England, there were 26 deaths for every 100,000 cases – a fatality rate of just 0.026%.

But behind these statistics are personal tragedies and the family of a swine flu victim who died with the bug just four weeks after giving birth, has joined the call to get pregnant mothers immunised.

Marianne Johnston, 20, was fit and healthy before she contracted the illness and she almost certainly would have lived had she been vaccinated.

Marianne's sister Kirsty said, "It is not just random, it is happening all over the place and don't take the chance with your own life or with your child, have the sore arm for two days, because I am sure if Marianne had the option now she would take the sore arm any day."

In a plea to pregnant women who have yet to get the jab, she added "If they have any doubt just think about what can happen."

Have you been vaccinated? If not, what's holding you back?

Source