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At-risk patients fail to get flu vaccine

7th April 2009

The Department of Health has said that over half the "at-risk" patients were not given their flu jabs in winter 2008. 

Vaccination1

In a letter outlining the yearly flu campaign for 2009/10, the DH revealed that the uptake for people aged under 65 at risk of flu went up only slightly from 45.3% in 2007/08 to 47.1% in 2008/09 in England.

People considered "at risk" included diabetic and asthmatic patients, and people with chronic heart disease. The DH is particularly concerned about these groups because developing flu could worsen their existing conditions.

The letter from Chief Medical Officer Sir Liam Donaldson, Chief Nursing Officer Dame Christine Beasley and Chief Pharmaceutical Officer Dr Keith Ridge, said: “This is still disappointingly low considering the benefit that the vaccine offers. The clinical risk groups remain the same in 2009/10, but we do want to see further increases in vaccine uptake in these groups.” 

The DH has said it wants doctors and managers to ensure that more patients receive the jab in the coming winter.

The NHS also wants to improve uptake rates among staff members, with only 16.5% of staff receiving the vaccine in 2008.

Uptake of the vaccine in patients aged over 65 years was more promising, with 74.1% of patients receiving the jab. This is close to the World Health Organisation's 2010 goal of 75%.

More than 96% of GP surgeries gave the DH information about vaccinations in 2008/09.

 

 

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