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Delayed flu deal a setback for uptake

GPs say the delay in the Government cave-in on flu payments for at-risk under-65s will leave them struggling to boost uptake.

Some three million under-65s fall into the at-risk group for immunisation but the sparse research on the issue suggests uptake has hovered at 20 per cent in past winters.

Cambridgeshire LMC representative Dr Ian Dumbelton, a GP in St Neots, said

the delay was a 'missed opportunity'. He added: 'If this deal had been agreed three months ago people could have got proactive systems in place to send out letters and make phone calls and they would have got much higher uptake.

'The result will be people who should be vaccinated don't get vaccinated and practices don't earn as much as they could have done.'

Vaccine manufacturers said there had been few calls from GPs increasing orders. A spokeswoman for Aventis Pasteur MSD said: 'Some surgeries are ordering a little bit more but it's not the massive call for vaccines we could have anticipated.'

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