Number of pensioners taking free flu jab falling


Professor Nick Phin from the Health Protection Agency "It is grown in hens' eggs and this year's strain took longer to grow"

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Many potential flu victims have not been vaccinated despite winter approaching, according to new figures.

The number of over 65 year olds who have been vaccinated has fallen since last year, as has the the number of younger "at risk" patients.

As of last week, only 48.9% of over 65s had been given the jab, compared with 54.8% in the same period of 2011.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: "As winter approaches, we should all be on our guard against health problems."

The Department of Health (DoH) says around 4,700 people die every year in England, after getting flu.

People in at-risk groups - such as pregnant women - are 11 times more likely to die than someone who is not in an at-risk group.

Start Quote

Our campaign aims to encourage people who are most at risk from flu, who have put it off or who don't think it is important, to get the vaccine”

End Quote Anna Soubry Public Health Minister

The DoH has therefore launched a campaign to encourage at-risk groups to get vaccinated and a new website, called Winterwatch, will be launched later this month to provide winter-related health data.

Public Health Minister Anna Soubry said: "We have taken the decision this year to run a flu campaign because too many people in at-risk groups have not come forward for the jab yet, although local campaigns have been running for the past month.

'£42m cost'

"Our campaign aims to encourage people who are most at risk from flu, who have put it off or who don't think it is important, to get the vaccine."

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: "Each year the cold weather is responsible for an increase in deaths and thousands of cases of flu, falls, heart attacks and strokes.

"In past years, these extra pressures have cost the NHS £42m in emergency admissions alone.

"As winter approaches, we should all be on our guard against health problems - by taking simple steps and looking after our older friends and family we can keep warm and well."

Flu is generally just means taking time off work for most people but certain at-risk groups are prone to developing potentially fatal complications, such as bronchitis and pneumonia.

One upward trend is in the number of pregnant women receiving the flu jab this year - around 25%, compared to 13.6% by this week in 2011.

Louise Silverton, director for midwifery for the Royal College of Midwives, said: "Women must also be aware of the importance of having the seasonal flu vaccination as soon as they become pregnant.

"If any pregnant woman is unsure about this, I would urge them to speak to their midwife or doctor to discuss the issue.

"For women after their 28th week of pregnancy, they should ask for the pertussis (whooping cough) vaccination when they visit the GP."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 88.

    As of last week, my own GP's practice was only halfway through a scheduled two week series of appointments, so low numbers reported then should not be a surprise.
    I received no reminders, despite being in a high risk category, and found out about the timing by accident. Notices of the campaign were posted up in the GP's surgery but are not much use if you are not a regular visitor to the surgery

  • rate this

    Comment number 87.


    ''...Not sure how worthwhiles it actually is...''

    Then don't make stupid comments about 'unnecessary mass-medication'. Just because you have never had flu it doesnt mean no-one will.

    Many people become seriously ill each winter with flu. Ever thought the gov't, media and the NHS are just trying to reduce this?

  • rate this

    Comment number 86.

    Now there's a thing. I was at the docs about 2 weeks ago and he said there's a national supply shortage of the vaccine.
    Could this be why people haven't received it?

    No wonder people dither when asked to show confidence in various Health & Government departments. It would help if they could at least show a little cohesion.

  • rate this

    Comment number 85.

    every year i get told i MUST have the jab, and I ask when do you know which virus's are going to pevelunt? The answer i get is "by june" and they make the jab? 3 years in advance. so last years jab was the wrong strand of "flu" offering no protection. I get told its impossible for me to get the "flu" from the jab, but from 5 jabs I have immediately caught full flu on 4 occasions. flu jab??

  • rate this

    Comment number 84.

    I think the best encouragement to get the jab is to suffer a dose of 'real' 'flu, rather than just the things we sometimes call 'flu to appear dramatic.

    I thought I'd had 'flu a couple of times in my life but I hadn't. When I had the genuine thing 2 years ago, all those other things I called 'flu paled in comparison by quite some degree.

    I now have the jab.

  • rate this

    Comment number 83.

    I am not sure whether there are side effects of the jab or not. I have had conflicting advice from nurses. My elderly father had a flu jab and he had severe stomach cramp within 24 hours. He was not a person who normally complained of pain. Within 2 weeks he had a stroke. Ok, none of this may be connected, but it puts me off. Please down rate this comment if you dont want to hear other views.

  • rate this

    Comment number 82.

    We'd love to send letters, so lobby your MP to get non-medical government interferers & money cutters off our backs, so we can get on doing the job we desperately want to do - looking after people who want us to do so. The latest round of 'checks' are cutting into patient time, and are useless. Of course there need to be checks, but this has now got quite ridiculous.

  • rate this

    Comment number 81.

    We have been so convinced, it seems by pharma, news people, "experts" that we must have this. Not sure how worthwhiles it actually is. I am 71, never had this and never had flu. The old adage might apply to this push - follow the money. Maybe people are realising what this more subtle form of mass-medication is about.

  • rate this

    Comment number 80.

    "But when those that have been made to work from the (Atos) results will deter those from receiving the flue jab because they will not be able to afford the cost especially for those on minimum wage and below, "

    My Sainsbury's is charging £8 but it's free to all at the GP. Shop around.

  • Comment number 79.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 78.

    61. essexash
    'im staying well away from it. This is the perfect chance that they will take to chemically tag you.'

    LOL! I thing there might be another reason you should go and see the doctor!

  • rate this

    Comment number 77.

    So many comments here say numbers are falling because of a lack of reminders. What do you want, spoon-feeding?

    Every January, when I get my new diary and add my annual reminders, I write "flu jab" at the start of October. I'm not in an at-risk group, so no-one is ever going to remind me...

    It really isn't difficult to be grown up and take some personal responsibility, you know.

  • rate this

    Comment number 76.


    Disease, it's nature's way of telling you to get off the planet, it's also a significant part of evolution, people shouldn't thwart it!!!!
    The human brain's also part of evolution. It has evolved such that it can reason about this world. It has discovered science and uses it to avoid diseases and viruses. Never forget Orgel's Second Rule.

  • rate this

    Comment number 75.

    My husband & are are both in the vulnerable slot and we intend to have the jab.

    The trouble doing so is the same as for shopping in the High Street - you've got to park that blasted car in a tiny little square of tarmac outside a converted Victorian house.

    We've got to make ourselves be bothered but haven't got around to it yet.

  • rate this

    Comment number 74.

    The flu jab is one that will save lives, I have worked in NHS for nearly 50 years, and don't love all it does, but this is really a good thing to have done. You may have a patch of red itch about the size of a 50p bit for 3-4 days, then fine, Flu kills, especially those compromised by other conditions, and the elderly & very young. Get it badly & you will have more than 1 tiny jab in treatment!

  • Comment number 73.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 72.

    Those on the at risk list who refuses to have the jab is a fool. Should they get Flu they should pay the cost for their treatment. As an Insulin dependent diabetic, taking a chance with not having the vaccince is not for me, it's like playing russian roulette.
    For those people who have poorly organised doctors practices, complain or change your doctor.
    There is no excuse for taking silly risks.

  • Comment number 71.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 70.

    My mother is 92, still smokes, has never had a flu jab and has never had flu! Just lucky, I guess!

  • rate this

    Comment number 69.

    I had my vaccination on Nov 1 - the first available at my GP - it is a large
    practice and they had only just received the vaccine. It was "all hands to the pump" - nurses and doctors - and they are to be commended in the way they carried out their job. Minimum waitng. Congratulations LEYLANDS MC Bradford. The media criticism is perhaps too early!


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