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Reminders boost flu vaccine uptake

GPs could improve uptake of influenza vaccine in the over-65s by placing more emphasis on patient information materials and reminders, new research suggests.

The researchers said most patients had to request a vaccination and only one in five got a reminder from their GP to attend for immunisation.

Dr Meirion Evans, a consultant epidemiologist at the Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre in Cardiff, surveyed 1,468 patients aged 65 and over about attitudes to the vaccine after uptake reached just 50.5 per cent in 1999.

Dr Evans, who presented the results to the Public Health Forum meeting in Cardiff last month, said absence of medical risk factors, perceived good health, lack of advice from a doctor or a nurse and negative views on vaccine safety and efficacy were to blame for poor uptake.

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