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New figures clear GPs of slur over flu vaccine

The extent of the extra demand for the flu vaccine in November is revealed by early figures indicating uptake in high-risk groups has leapt by more than 10 per cent.

The figures are further evidence that GPs ran out of flu vaccine because of unprecedented demand among eligible patients ­ not because they were doling vaccine out to the 'worried well'.

Three weeks ago the Government said GPs must have been wasting vaccine because October's uptake in eligible patients had not increased from the previous year.

But at the end of November, just four weeks into the campaign for some practices after delivery delays, uptake in elderly patients increased from 66 to 71 per cent ­ a proportional increase of 7.5 per cent.

And the figures, collected by Pulse from PCTs around the country, showed uptake in under-65 high-risk groups went up from 35 to 40 per cent ­ a rise of 11 per cent.

Dr Harry Yoxall, secretary of Somerset LMC, said: 'GPs have been careful at targeting people at risk.

'We'll find the target population has been very well covered this year.'

The campaign is expected to continue well into January as practices wait for extra stocks.

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