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Independents' Day

Flu vaccine uptake has yet to recover

Flu vaccine uptake by the end of November was still substantially down on previous years, despite intensive GP efforts to catch-up.

Delivery delays have seen uptake crash by 10 percentage points, from 70 per cent in 2005 to 60 per cent this year.

The figures were obtained by Pulse from about 2,600 practices, including from the representative QFlu network.

They suggest the Government was overoptimistic to claim the fall in uptake in October was only a short-term blip.

Elizabeth Murphy, flu co-

ordinator for Coventry PCT, where uptake at the end of November was 56 per cent compared with 67 per cent last year, said: 'Delays in vaccine delivery have hampered us and acted as a disincentive to patients.'

But GPs have been working hard to make up lost ground

after the impact of the failure to deliver vaccines on time.

RCGP data for November suggests GPs have almost reached last year's uptake levels – at 63 per cent, from 66 per cent last year – and are forecast to exceed them by the end of the season.

Dr Liz Stopp, flu lead for Wiltshire PCT, where uptake is down to 64 per cent from 73 per cent last year, said: 'GPs here are running extra clinics, advertising to at-risk groups only and sharing any surplus vaccines with local practices.'

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