Vaccination: Older People

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 22nd October 2019.

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Photo of Chris Green Chris Green Conservative, Bolton West

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to increase the uptake of vaccines among older people.

Photo of Chris Green Chris Green Conservative, Bolton West

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to introduce a consistent approach to vaccinations, such as introducing call and re-call systems for shingles, as is already common in flu and pneumococcal vaccination programmes.

Photo of Jo Churchill Jo Churchill The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

Immunisations play a critical role in preventative healthcare and in promoting health and well-being across the life course, particularly in older adults when protection against flu, pneumococcal and shingles is so important. NHS England is working closely with the Department and with Public Health England to develop a 10-year vaccination strategy and in leading the review of vaccination and immunisation in general practice with both pieces of work focused on improving immunisation uptake rates across the life course.

The review of general practitioner (GP) vaccination and immunisation standards, funding and procurement, commenced in April 2019. One of the purposes of the review is to clarify what is expected of call/recall for all section 7A immunisations. Recommendations from the Review will be implemented through the GP contract where appropriate.

Whilst being assured that providers have ordered sufficient amount of vaccine for their registered populations, work has also been undertaken collaboratively with the Department, Public Health England and flu vaccine manufacturers to ensure equity of supply and distribution of adult flu vaccines to all providers across England. This will ensure that all those eligible, including elderly and housebound patients, are immunised as soon as the vaccine becomes available.

Those most ‘at risk’ from flu, including people aged 65 and over, pregnant women and those in clinical risk groups, are offered an annual flu vaccination. At-risk patients are targeted by the Public Health England and NHS England marketing campaign, ‘Help Us Help You’, which includes television, radio and social advertising, supported by public relations, digital search and partnership activity.

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