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DH pushes for greater winter flu jab uptake


Health experts have urged people to make sure they avoid taking unnecessary risks and have the seasonal flu jab, after figures show fewer people have been vaccinated this year.

The Department of Health said that confusion over the swine flu component of this year’s jab could be behind the slower uptake.

At the end of October only 48% of over-65s had received the injection, which is 7% lower than at the same point in 2009.

Just over a quarter of under-65s in the at-risk categories - including those with diabetes, heart disease, asthma and pregnant women - had decided to have the preventative treatment, compared with 31% 12 months ago.

Ministers have said the “blip” could be due to “unnecessary” fears about the jab also containing protection against the swine flu strain.

Last year, there was some concern among the public about the safety of the vaccine.

People who had the swine flu vaccine last year are still covered against the strain this year, but the latest seasonal flu vaccine also protects against two other strains of flu.

Professor David Salisbury, director of immunisation at the Department of Health, said: “We don’t know how serious flu will be this winter.

“But we do know that improving seasonal flu vaccine uptake will ensure that more vulnerable people are protected.

“This year’s vaccine is the ordinary seasonal flu jab and protects against the dominant strains.

“This year it protects against three types of flu, including the type known as swine flu.

“It is vital we don’t underestimate the effects of this virus. It is not the same as getting a cold and it can seriously affect your health.


Readers' comments (3)

  • Its not just patients that are refusing the seasonal flu jab some healthcare staff are also worried about the swine flu component and declining the jab. Employers need to get the message across about the benefits to both patients and staff and thier families. If not many people will face a miserable Christmas in bed with flu

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  • I think a lot of people are worried about the target driven payment by results and the 'big brother' approach too

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  • Isn't it time this target driven, payment by results managerial attitude was dropped in favour of humanistic holistic care to suit the needs of the population and patients? The public are not good on a shelf to be manipulated as those in the stores such as supermarkets.

    the NHS was initially designed to provide a service to the British Public and is not a profit making buisness, as one of my honourable colleagues suggested in the comments following another article in the NT, and cannot be run as such. Even if managers still under this delusion, time has shown that attempting to provide a service in this way simply does not work.

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