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GPs to hit flu target

GPs look set to meet the Government's 70 per cent uptake target for flu vaccination among over-65s, official figures suggest.

But data available to the Health Protection Agency suggesting that few at-risk children have been immunised has led the HPA, the RCGP and Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health to issue a joint statement to health professionals encouraging urgent immunisation of children aged six months and over in at-risk categories (see box).

Uptake at the beginning of December for over-65s stood at 68.1 per cent ­ up from 66.4 per cent at the same time in 2002 when the final uptake was 69 per cent.

At-risk children

Children aged six months and over in these risk categories should be offered immunisation:

 · Any child with compromised lung function, eg BPD. Those with severe asthma (needing long-term oral steroids) should be included.

 · Any child with chronic heart disease.

 · Any child with

impaired immunity, either congenital or acquired, those on immunosuppressive or anti-cancer drugs for whatever reason, as well as those on long-term oral steroids

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