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GPs urged to record flu vaccine refusal in notes

GPs are being urged to keep a note of patients who actively refuse the flu jab so they can defend themselves if they miss Government immunisation targets this winter.

Somerset LMC has advised GPs to keep records amid concerns that a growing number of elderly and at-risk patients are rejecting the vaccine, many through concerns over side-

effects and suspicion about vaccines in general.

Primary care oganisations are under pressure to ensure the 70 per cent uptake target for the over-65s is met ­ and GPs will need the records to justify themselves if they fall short.

Harry Yoxall, Somerset LMC secretary, estimated 10 to 15 per cent of patients would turn down the flu jab in his area this year. Therefore it was crucial that GPs kept records of refusers, he added.

Meanwhile, GPs have been urged to do more to educate patients about the benefits of the flu jab after a hospital study, presented at a meeting of the British Geriatrics Society last month, revealed a third of eligible patients are missing out.

A survey in January of 291 adults, of all ages, admitted to the acute unit at Lister Hospital, Stevenage, identified 100 patients eligible for flu vaccine.

Study leader Dr Clifford Lisk, a specialist registrar in geriatrics and general medicine at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, said a third of patients who missed out quoted 'lack of awareness' as the reason.

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