Vaccine appeal in memory of Katrina

Jason and Katrina Mullen on their wedding day in March 2010, less than a year before she died of swine flu.
Jason and Katrina Mullen on their wedding day in March 2010, less than a year before she died of swine flu.

A MAN who lost his wife to swine flu is urging people to vaccinate themselves against the deadly virus.

Katrina Mullen died in January this year at the age of 41.

In the approach to the first anniversary of her death her husband Jason Mullen, of St Mary’s Walk, is urging people to get a flu vaccination to prevent a similar tragedy.

Mr Mullen said: “Katrina had underlying health issues, but was told by doctors that she wasn’t in the high-risk category for contracting swine flu so she didn’t have the vaccine.

“Who is to say what would have happened if she did have it, but there is a chance it could have saved her.

“I think it is important for people to think about getting vaccinated even if they aren’t in the high-risk category.

“Some people might not consider themselves to be at risk, but if you are prone to chest infections and heavy colds then I think getting a vaccination should be considered.

“If you are in any doubt about your health then do it, it could save your life.”

Mr Mullen said it is a difficult time for him with Christmas and the anniversary of Katrina’s death approaching.

He added: “I just want something positive to be said out of all of this, and for Katrina’s story to do some good and make people think, and hopefully save someone’s life.

“That is what she would have wanted.

“I would hate to read about the same thing happening to someone else.”

Mrs Mullen died at Scarborough Hospital. She had been admitted to intensive care and was under sedation after falling ill on Christmas Day with a cough.

The NHS recommends that people in high-risk groups be vaccinated against H1N1, including all pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy.

People are considered to be high risk if they have: chronic long-term lung disease, chronic heart disease, chronic kidney disease, chronic liver disease, chronic neurological disease, immunosuppression, diabetes mellitus.

Also at risk are patients who have had drug treatment for asthma in the past three years, pregnant women and people aged 65 and over.

However Mr Mullen is warning people that even if they don’t fall into the high-risk category they should be aware of symptoms and consider vaccination.

The NHS states the most important way to stop flu spreading is to have good respiratory and hand hygiene.