Influenza

Department of Health written question – answered on 23rd February 2015.

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Photo of Lord Taylor of Warwick Lord Taylor of Warwick Non-affiliated

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to protect people from this year’s seasonal flu, in the light of concerns expressed about the efficacy of the vaccine.

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

The current flu vaccine is still expected to protect against flu A(H1N1) and flu B which have already been circulating this season and may yet increase. We continue to encourage those who are most at risk of flu to get vaccinated.

General practitioners were reminded in December 2014 of the availability of antiviral medicines, and a letter was issued to the National Health Service recommending the use of antiviral medicines for those at greatest risk of becoming ill due to flu. In addition, Public Health England is promoting good hand and respiratory hygiene via the ‘catch it, kill it’ campaign.

Throughout the last decade, there has generally been a good match between the strains of flu in the vaccine and those that subsequently circulate, so it is crucial that this season’s results do not discourage people in at-risk groups from having flu vaccination now, or in the future.

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