Older people urged to receive flu jab

Older people should come forward to receive a flu jab this winter, despite doubts over the effectiveness of the vaccine, say experts.

Credit: United National Photographers
Credit: United National Photographers

A study, published in October last year, found that vaccinating the over-65s for flu did not appear to reduce winter hospital admission rates.

But writing in the BMJ, Dr Rachel Jordan from the University of Birmingham and Dr Jeremy Hawker from the Health Protection Agency say that the vaccine is effective in preventing influenza in those over 60.

‘Influenza causes substantial mortality and morbidity in older people, and even if the more general all cause mortality benefit may be lower than previously thought, the current vaccine programme offers older people valuable protection against illness and hospital admissions,’ they say.

Currently, the vaccination programme recommends flu jabs for all patients aged 65 and over.

sanjay.tanday@haymarket.com

BMJ Online 2008

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