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Flu vaccine coverage in general practice on the increase for most patient groups

Figures from Public Health England show increased flu vaccine uptake in most patient groups in general practice compared to the last flu season.

Provisional data from PHE has shown that flu vaccine coverage in general practice is higher in the 2017/18 season compared with overall figures for the previous year.

Data covering September to December 2017 has shown a 71.2% vaccine uptake in the over-65s, an increase of just under one percentage point from the previous flu season. The data also showed:

  • 45.4% coverage in pregnant women (0.4% increase compared with the previous year)
  • 40.4% coverage in two year olds (1.5% increase compared with the previous year)
  • 41.5% coverage in three year olds (no increase compared with the previous year)

Patients aged between six months and 65 years who fall in to a clinical at-risk group, however, have seen a 2% fall in vaccination coverage for this season so far, with figures showing coverage of 46.6%.

NHS England medical director Professor Sir Bruce Keogh and RCGP chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard co-signed a letter earlier in the month urging GPs to make sure that three million remaining eligible patients receive their vaccination.

However Pulse reported last week that one third of practices have run out vaccine or are running low, with some having to borrow more vaccine from other practices. 

PHE’s weekly flu reports have shown that this is one of the most significant flu seasons for hospital admissions since 2010/11, with the hospitalisation rate for flu standing at 8.21 per 100,000 in the second week of January.

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