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GP flu vaccination campaign in young children still behind

GP practices are still struggling to complete the new flu vaccination programme in young children, with almost two-thirds of two- and three-year olds still requiring immunisation before vaccine stocks expire next month.

The latest figures from Public Health England show that 37% of children aged two years and 34% of all children aged three years have received flu vaccinations up until the end of November.

The uptake has slightly improved since the last set of figures in December. They showed 34% of all two-year-olds and 31% of all three-year-olds had received the influenza vaccine by 24 November.

Vaccine uptake in other groups was much better, with 69% of elderly patients and 46% of at-risk groups vaccinated against flu. But only 36% of pregnant women have been vaccinated. All uptake levels were similar to the same period last year.

Pulse revealed in October that GPs will be expected to order their own supplies of the nasal flu vaccine recommended for the ongoing programme in two- and three- year olds from January, as all central stocks will expire.

The proportion of health workers has increased this year, with 49% receiving the flu vaccine, compared with a 40.8% over the same period in 2012. 

Dr Richard Pebody, head of flu survelliance at Public Health England said: ‘This is a strong increase over the same time period last year, and it’s great to see so many health care workers taking steps to not only protect themselves, but also protect their patients from flu.’

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