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MS to join flu at-risk groups

People with multiple sclerosis and those living with severely immunocompromised patients are set to join the 'at-risk' groups for influenza vaccination.

The influenza subgroup of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has agreed the changes, which are now awaiting sign-off from the main JCVI committee. The subgroup said the evidence was limited but MS patients should be vaccinated as it only equated to one or two additional patients per GP.

But it is unclear how many individuals live with severely immunocompromised patients as the decision to vaccinate will be 'at the doctor's discretion'. Last year GPs saw two at-risk groups ­ carers and patients with chronic kidney disease ­ added after they had placed their flu vaccine orders.

Dr Peter Joliffe, chief officer of Devon LMC, urged the Department of Health to inform GPs of any new eligible groups well in advance of the flu campaign.

'We need to let people know this is in the offing. There is logic to including these groups but they could do the profession a service by letting GPs know in advance. Last year we were told too late,' he warned.

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