DH figures show that by the end of January, 459,293 frontline NHS workers had received a flu vaccination - 45.9% of all staff.
This compares with 44.6% vaccinated in 2011/12, and 34.7% vaccinated in 2010/11.
NHS staff vaccinated against flu
Uptake rates were highest in the north west of England, with 58.9% of staff vaccinated. Rates were lowest in the South East Coast region, at just 37.6%.
The DH released the figures as NHS Employers announced the winners of this year's NHS Flu Fighter awards, for efforts to raise uptake.
Figures detailing profession-specific uptake are due in the next few weeks.
Flu rates across the country remained low in the week ending 20 February. The UK has so far failed to see a large spike in cases this winter, echoing the mild levels of flu also seen in 2011/12.