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...while pregnant women in next year's risk groups

Pregnant women and patients with neurological conditions are to receive the flu vaccine from 2007/8, Pulse can reveal.

The influenza subgroup of the Government's Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has formally recommended the additions to the at-risk groups.

While the recommendations come too late for this year's flu campaign, a member of the committee has urged GPs to target the new groups should they have any surplus vaccine.

Dr Douglas Fleming, who is also director of the RCGP Birmingham research unit, told Pulse: 'If there's available vaccine, and GPs often have some vaccine left towards the end, these groups should definitely be included.'

The subgroup decided at its last meeting to recommend flu vaccination for women in the second and third trimester

during the flu campaign – those expected to give birth during the 1 November to 31 March flu season.

The subgroup also recommended adding multiple sclerosis, hereditary and degenerative diseases of the CNS and cerebrovascular disease to the at-risk groups – the latter bringing its recommendations in line with the QOF.

The move has been warmly welcomed by specialists.

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