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 328.

    314 Fuzzy

    The whole point of sytematic reviews and meta-analyses is that they are an analysis of many studies, they themselves do not produce new results - they contain far more information than 'just one paper'

  • rate this

    Comment number 327.

    322. TheBladesman

    This herd effect is more a flock effect.

    Influenza is carried mainly by birds it mutates & occasionally one will find its way to humans.

    You would need to eradicate this source first to make the herd effect workable.

    And I am not on anything other than Carlsberg by the way.

  • rate this

    Comment number 326.

    There has been a great deal less of the flue jab seen this year. I would advocate bringing in one of the Conservative parties great fixers to deal with the evident problems there are getting funds. Derek Laud is a known great fixer from the Thatcher era, and is so forcful he could force this through even against the most physical opponents. It's an unfortunate coincidence the accidents around him.

  • rate this

    Comment number 325.

    Millions of years of evolution and you want to trust some experimental drugs?
    Did you know if you are pregnant you could end up with a deformed baby?
    Don’t go near someone who had the jab. You will get the flu.
    The Flu mutates thats why you need this jab so often.
    But with the jag your own body gets weaker.
    But if you let your body fight the flu. Your body’s deference get stronger.

  • rate this

    Comment number 324.

    For those who mention Spanish Flu, the 1918 outbreak mostly affected fit young adults. Very few of the fatalities were over 65. Shows you never can tell with flu.

  • rate this

    Comment number 323.

    Oliver @ 308 said:
    "You clearly don't understand the herd effect."

    Inverse theory .....

    Pumping antibiotics into everyone to create world-wide health problems. CDifficile, superbugs and smallpox.

    You are also no doubt aware of the return of tuberculosis, there are now over 5 strains of this deadly illness thanks to the overuse of antibiotics.

    You go with herd - I'll stay with my thoughts.

  • rate this

    Comment number 322.


    ''...People are not the "host" breeding ground, raptors are like mosquitoes are to malaria that's why we struggle to get rid..''

    What are you talking about and what on earth is a raptor?

  • rate this

    Comment number 321.

    The problem isn't the vaccines it's the people offering them, there are a lot of people who depending on your point of view, with justification or without, simply do not trust the establishment to not kill them off either accidently or intentionally, the old are scared, the poor are scared, when you make certain groups of people feel like unwanted burdens it's a reaction that is to be expected.

  • rate this

    Comment number 320.

    Whatever you are on David can I have a bit?

  • rate this

    Comment number 319.

    315. Tidy Mess

    People are not the "host" breeding ground, raptors are like mosquitoes are to malaria that's why we struggle to get rid.

  • Comment number 318.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 317.


    It honestly depends on your individual circumstances whether or not
    your body can"fight off" the flu virus!
    So far you seem to be healthy and LUCKY.
    I hope you remain that way.

  • rate this

    Comment number 316.

  • rate this

    Comment number 315.


    "the idiotic "Herd effect""

    It's not idiotic. In fact it's common sense.

    Imagine one person catches flu and spreads it to 3 people who each spread it to 3 more etc. Now imagine that the first person is vaccinated and doesn't catch flu. The other people also don't catch it.

    If you have enough people vaccinated, there are not enough vulnerable people around to sustain an outbreak.

  • rate this

    Comment number 314.

    306Adrian SS

    ...article published in The Lancet in October 2011, there is not enough evidence that flu vaccines work for the over 65s. You can check the article for yourself - the title is "Efficacy and effectiveness of influenza vaccines: a systematic review and meta-analysis".
    Until corroborated by others I don't think we can draw safe conclusions from that one paper.

  • rate this

    Comment number 313.

    Why the desperation to vaccinate everyone? What is government so keen to get shoved into our bloodstreams? In past decades, people caught flu and got over it, without all these vaccinations; they weren't available. We have become too reliant on vaccines for everything, filling our bodies with the stuff. Yes I've had flu, it aint fun but it soon goes. Remember the outcry about swine flu vacs?

  • rate this

    Comment number 312.

    308. Oliver

    Wild raptors carry this virus & certain mutations can transfer to humans or pigs ect.

    How do we reduce the numbers ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 311.


    There is no lack of vaccines at all. GPs are prioritising vaccines to the over 65s and those with chronic diseases according to the recommendations.

    If you are in a target group and are not being allowed access to a flu jab blame the receptionists who often don't have a clue.

    Nothing to do with NHS funding cuts.

  • rate this

    Comment number 310.

    I have had several bouts of flu over the years, including Asian flu, but don't have a flu jab because I'm allergic to hen's eggs in which the vaccine is cultivated. This was discovered the only time I did have a flu jab and had a severe allergic reaction. So it's not suitable for everyone and doesn't protect against all strains of flu.

  • rate this

    Comment number 309.


    "OK lets say 1%..."

    Your argument fails right there. You're using a figure that you've just plucked out of the air to somehow say that the jab is more dangerous!

    "...most people would rather choose a needle over taking preventative measure"

    The jab IS a preventative measure. Healthy eating is beneficial but will not prevent a virus from infecting you.


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