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GP complacency a factor in missed flu vaccine target

GP complacency over the threat of flu may have been a factor in the failure to hit the national flu vaccination uptake target of 70 per cent, according to the Public Health Laboratory Service.

Pulse has also learned GPs in Sheffield failed to receive the full allocation of funds to fight the winter flu campaign as PCTs in the city top-sliced 25 per cent of the money to offset prescribing overspends.

Nearly half of PCTs nationwide ­ 150 out of 304 ­ failed to reach the 70 per cent uptake target in over-65s by the end of January.

Dr John Watson, consultant epidemiologist and head of the Public Health Laboratory Service's respiratory division, said he was concerned that GPs and the elderly were not thinking about flu because this was the third winter

in a row with low levels of flu activity. Dr Watson said: 'It doesn't serve to remind

people how nasty it can be. There is concern that some complacency has sneaked into the elderly and health care workers.'

A spokeswoman for Harin-gey PCT, which achieved

just 61 per cent uptake ­

a 4 per cent rise on the

previous year ­ said it was difficult to reach ethnic minority groups.

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