DoH advisors unconvinced over need for UK child flu vaccination

More evidence is needed to show that vaccinating all healthy children against seasonal flu is worthwhile, government advisors have said.

Further assessment needed into the impact on GP practices of vaccinating healthy children
Further assessment needed into the impact on GP practices of vaccinating healthy children

Following a meeting last month, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said it required further assessment on the impact of such an extension to the UK's national programme before it could recommend vaccinating under 17s against flu.

The decision followed a request from health secretary Andrew Lansley to look at whether the flu vaccination programme should be extended.

The JCVI said vaccinating older people and all those in the clinical risk group should remain the priority.

A preliminary study by the UK's Health Protection Agency had suggested it might be cost effective to vaccinate healthy children to reduce flu transmission.

But the JCVI said a further assessment was needed into the impact on GP practices and schools of vaccinating healthy children.

The UK's director of immunisation Professor David Salisbury said: 'Extending the vaccination programme to all healthy children under 17 would be a huge undertaking, increasing the number of people who get the vaccine, so it is important that we get this decision absolutely right.'

He added that a 'key consideration' would be the availability of vaccine suitable for this age-group, which would likely be in the form of nose drops.

'But we need to understand from vaccine manufacturers how and when they would be able to produce the vaccine in the quantities we need.'

Vaccination rates across the UK remain relatively low. In England, although 54.8% of over 65s have had the jab already, just 32.2% of at-risk people and 13.5% of pregnant women have been vaccinated.

Click here to explore the current flu situation across all four UK countries in our interactive guide

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

RCGP urges GPs to collaborate with pharmacies on flu jabs this year

RCGP urges GPs to collaborate with pharmacies on flu jabs this year

The RCGP and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society have called on GP practices and community...

COVID-19 impact on medical schools risks 'serious damage' to future NHS workforce

COVID-19 impact on medical schools risks 'serious damage' to future NHS workforce

Medical training and the future NHS workforce could be seriously damaged by the financial...

GPonline's news editor wins medical journalism award

GPonline's news editor wins medical journalism award

GPonline news editor Nick Bostock has won News Story of the Year (specialist media)...

How GPs can support patients with 'long COVID'

How GPs can support patients with 'long COVID'

GPs must be ready to support patients with physical, psychological and social problems...

BMA demands 'rule of six' overhaul to prevent further lockdowns

BMA demands 'rule of six' overhaul to prevent further lockdowns

The government must scrap its high-risk ‘rule of six’ and introduce more stringent...

Average GP practice list tops 9,000 after 30% rise in seven years

Average GP practice list tops 9,000 after 30% rise in seven years

The average GP practice list has risen beyond 9,000 patients for the first time after...