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Fewer patients having flu jab this year

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Fewer vulnerable patients have been given the flu jab this year than in 2011, according to latest figures.

The number of people aged 65 and over who have received the vaccination this year is less than the same period last year, Department of Health figures show. And fewer under-65s considered at risk due to various medical issues have also been given the jab.

Up until the end of October, 48.9% of pensioners had been vaccinated against flu, compared to 54.8% at the same point the previous year. And the proportion of people with health problems including diabetes, asthma and heart and liver disease who were vaccinated was 28.7%, down from 32.2% in 2011.

A DH spokeswoman said flu can be deadly for vulnerable people who are more likely to develop serious complications like bronchitis or pneumonia with the virus claiming 4,700 lives each year in England.

The likelihood of dying from flu is 11 times greater for pensioners and those with medical issues than those who are not considered to be at risk.

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