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GPs fear major flu crisis

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A possible major flu crisis is causing “deep concern” among senior GPs in the UK.

Local medical councils and individual GP practices have reported that fewer patients who fall into at-risk groups - such as pregnant women and those with heart disease and diabetes - are requesting the seasonal flu jab.

The vaccine protects against swine flu, which is again a threat this winter, as well as others such as flu type B.

The Department of Health recommends that even those people in at-risk groups who received the swine flu jab last winter would be best coming forward for the new seasonal vaccine..

Lower immunisation rates have increased fears that a normal seasonal flu outbreak could prove much more serious this time, according to the British Medical Association (BMA).

An estimated 67.2% of over-65s and 41.5% of under-65s in at-risk groups have had the flu jab in England.

This is just behind last year’s figure for the over-65s, but 5% behind vaccination rates seen this time last year for at-risk groups.

Chairman of the BMA’s GPs committee Dr Laurence Buckman has written to the government urging it to step up its publicity campaign.

He said: “Family doctors are already seeing high rates of influenza and they have been telling us that they are also seeing a lower uptake than usual for seasonal flu immunisation.

“Myths persist about the safety of the vaccine, especially after swine flu.

“The vaccine has been thoroughly tested and we strongly urge patients to make an appointment with their GP and get vaccinated.”

  • 3 Comments

Readers' comments (3)

  • why is it that suddenly when you hit the magic age of 65 you fall into the high risk group and are advised to uptake the vaccine yet below that you do not fall into this category? If one doesn't have a vaccine this year but hits 65 next year does one suddenly have a high risk compared to the previous year? where is the logic. isn't risk more related to state of health than to a 'magic' number?

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  • safety of the vaccine is no myth. there is always the risk of compromising a healthy immune system with these so-called 'jabs'.

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  • 65 is quite young these days in healthy adults.....blimey in 5 years time I could be admitted to a 'geriatric ward'! There are 'magic numbers' rife in the NHS (mmmm .... individual care, I think not!), everyone is in a box of some sort and a target for some treatment or another. There are a lot of financial worries about the ageing population living longer, but do they want us too...really? We are becoming a controlled population.

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