The national seasonal flu vaccination campaign has been launched today in England.
As in recent years, as well as healthcare staff, the programme this year is targeting patients aged 65 years of age and over and those with a medical condition which puts them in an “at risk” group.
DH director of immunisation Dr David Salisbury said: “There has been so much coverage about swine flu this year that it is very important to remind people not to forget about getting their normal annual flu jab.
“People should not underestimate the effects of seasonal flu. It is not the same as getting a cold,” he added.
Last year the campaign saw an increase in the uptake of the vaccine in England among those aged 65 years and over, reaching 74.1 per cent compared with 73.5 per cent in 2007-08.
The vaccine uptake in clinical risk groups under 65 was lower, but increased to 47.1% compared with 45.3% in 2007-08.
A separate vaccination campaign for H1N1 swine flu is due to begin shortly.
The Scottish government launched its seasonal flu vaccination programme on Monday.