Flu vaccine uptake among people aged over 65 increasing

Public Health England says that 75 per cent of those aged 65 and over in England received the free vaccine so far this year – up from 72.4 per cent at the end of the last flu season.

From 1 December, 50 to 64 years-olds will also be eligible for a free vaccine.

Public Health England data also shows that uptake is the highest it has ever been in two- and three-year-olds, at 47.6 per cent and 49.4 per cent. As part of this year’s expanded NHS flu vaccination programme, children in Year 7 have been offered the vaccine for the first time this year. Uptake in this year is higher than all other school groups, with more than a quarter (158,748) of Year 7 children vaccinated by the end of October.

Uptake in healthcare workers is also ahead of this time last year. By the end of October, 51.6 per cent of healthcare workers had already been vaccinated – over 100,000 more compared to the same period last year.

Dr Vanessa Saliba, Head of Flu at Public Health England, said: “We have had an incredible start to the flu vaccination programme, with record uptake in two- to three-year-olds and rates in over 65s – the highest since the 2005 to 2006 season. With over 30 million doses available this season, more people than ever are being offered a free flu vaccine. There is still time to get vaccinated against flu before it starts circulating in the community. We are urging anyone who is eligible to take up the offer. By getting the jab, you can help protect yourself, your family and the NHS – it will help save lives.”