Call to extend flu jab programme

The UK flu vaccination programme should be extended to include people aged 50-65 and children aged six months to three years, the RCGP has suggested.

Influenza vaccination is currently recommended for all elderly people aged 65 and over in the UK, as well as individuals in at-risk groups such as those suffering from respiratory problems.

The call comes after research revealed that influenza vaccination uptake levels for Great Britain are lagging below the European average.

This comes at a time when the WHO has emphasised the importance of influenza vaccination, stating that ‘the risk of a new flu pandemic is on its highest level since the last pandemic in 1968’.

This latest study assessed the levels of influenza vaccination coverage in England, Scotland and Wales for consecutive flu seasons from 2001 to 2006.

Vaccination coverage for Great Britain increased by over 3 per cent over the study period to reach 25.9 per cent, but still fell short of the European average, 26.5 per cent.

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