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Nasal spray flu vaccine 87 per cent effective in children says PHE
Public Health England (PHE) has published mid-season data on the effectiveness of this year’s flu vaccines which suggests that the nasal spray is 87% effective in children aged 2 to 17 years against the main circulating strain. (influenza A(H1N1)pmd09).
The data is published alongside data from other countries, in Eurosurveillance - a European peer-reviewed scientific journal.
So far this season, more children have been vaccinated than ever, but there is still more that can be done to increase uptake, which between children aged 2 and 3 is 43% and 45.2% respectively. Among school-aged children, this ranges from 56.2% to 63.9% depending on year group.
Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at Public Health England, said:
"It is encouraging to see that this year’s vaccines are offering a high level of protection against the main circulating strain of flu – particularly for children. Children tend to be ‘super-spreaders’ of flu, and so protecting them is crucial for protecting the rest of the population.
"We’re pleased that more parents have been taking up the offer of vaccination for their children - and encourage anyone who is eligible to do so every winter. It’s the best defence we have against this unpredictable virus."
This season, people aged 18 to 64 in an at-risk group were offered the ‘quadrivalent’ vaccine in injected form (protecting against four strains of flu). A new ‘adjuvanted’ vaccine was also available for anyone aged 65 and over. The current data does not include estimations of effectiveness for this age category, as further data and analysis is required to calculate an accurate figure.
Data on the effectiveness of this season’s vaccines against influenza B strains are unavailable, as these strains have not circulated widely this season.