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Health: Influenza Vaccination

House of Lords written question – answered on 6th April 2011.

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Photo of Lord Kennedy of Southwark Lord Kennedy of Southwark Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to increase the take up of the flu vaccine in 2011-12 amongst those groups most at risk.

Photo of Earl Howe Earl Howe The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

The department has reviewed the lessons learnt from last winter's seasonal flu immunisation programme and is taking steps to achieve higher vaccination coverage rates in 2011-12. On 14 March, the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) wrote to the National Health Service setting out next winter's planning assumptions, and seeking assurances that preparations are in hand at local level to run a successful immunisation programme. In particular, the CMO has asked for assurances that sufficient vaccine has been ordered and that robust arrangements are in place for general practitioners to contact those who are most at risk from the effects of flu. The CMO stated that the NHS should plan locally to:

reach or exceed 75 per cent uptake for people aged 65 years and over as recommended by the World Health Organisation; andreach or exceed 75 per cent uptake for people under age 65 with clinical conditions which put them more at risk from the effects of flu, and pregnant women, as recommended by the European Union. A reasonable trajectory for increases in uptake in clinical risk groups and pregnant women might be 60 per cent in 2011-12, and 70 per cent in 2012-13, so that an uptake of 75 per cent can be reached or exceeded in 2013-14.

A copy of the CMO's letter has been placed in the Library.

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