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Third of infants and two-thirds of over 65s have had flu jab

Around a third of two and three-year-olds have had the seasonal flu vaccine, figures show.

Some 34.1% of two-year-olds and 30.6% of three-year-olds have had the vaccine, which is administered by GPs and nurses as a nasal spray.

The vaccine was first introduced in September and the programme will eventually include all two to 16-year-olds.

Other figures from Public Health England show that uptake of the normal seasonal flu jab - given as an injection - is at similar levels to last year.

Some 67% of people aged 65 and over have had the jab, compared to 67.9% this time last year.

Among those aged under 65 who have a health condition such as diabetes, heart disease or asthma, uptake is 43.6% compared with 43.8% last year.

And 34% of pregnant women have had the jab, compared with 34.1% last year.

Dr Richard Pebody, a flu expert at Public Health England, said: “It is great to see so many people taking steps to protect themselves already this flu season, but it’s important everyone in the targeted groups consider getting vaccinated.

“Flu has not started to circulate yet and there is still time to take up the opportunity of vaccination.

“For most people influenza infection is just a nasty experience, but for some it can lead to illnesses that are more serious, including bronchitis and secondary bacterial pneumonia, which can be life-threatening.

“Older people and those groups at risk of developing complications include people with weakened immune systems, as well as those with underlying conditions such as neurological disorders, liver, lung or renal disease, heart problems or diabetes, and pregnant women.

“Vaccination remains the best way to protect against the potential serious harm from flu this winter.”

 

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