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Uptake leap vindicates GPs

Figures for flu uptake by the end of 2005 have vindicated GPs' denials of wasting flu vaccine on the 'worried well'.

A Pulse straw-poll of PCTs found uptake in over-65s and at-risk groups was sharply up on last year's, despite supply problems at the campaign's start.

Among PCTs surveyed, uptake in over-65s leapt 6 per cent from last season's final uptake figure ­ from 72 to 76 per cent. Uptake in at-risk groups jumped 9.5 per cent, from 42 to 46 per cent.

Dr Laurence Buckman, GPC deputy chair, said the figures were exactly what he had expected. 'It's nice to have proof, and I always enjoy being right. GPs have done extremely well and have worked very hard. It shows one should always get evidence before making public pronouncements.'

In November, the Government accused GPs of doling out flu vaccine to the worried well after stocks ran out, after uptake figures for the first month showed no increase from the previous year.

But many GPs had been forced to suspend the start of the flu campaign for a month after deliveries were delayed.

The campaign has been extended to the end of January.

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