Flu vaccine administered to record numbers in England

UPTAKE of the flu vaccine among over-65s in England this year has been the highest ever.

NHS staff in England have vaccinated 80.3 per cent of those aged 65 years and over against flu so far this year.

Public Health England (PHE) reports that this is the highest uptake ever achieved for this group and is just under 10 per cent higher than this time last year, exceeding the World Health Organization uptake ambition of 75 per cent.

Uptake in two and three-year-old children is also the highest ever recorded, at 54.0 per cent and 56.5 per cent respectively. Rates are also higher than the same time last season for all other eligible groups and this includes an uptake rate of 51.5 per cent in clinical at-risk groups (aged under 65 years), which is the highest achieved in the last seven seasons.

Rates among healthcare workers also increased with 70.5 per cent of frontline healthcare workers having been vaccinated by the end of November 2020 compared to 61.5 per cent at the same period last year.

Dr Vanessa Saliba, Head of Flu at PHE, said: "The flu vaccine saves lives. It is therefore very encouraging to see record-high uptake rates this season, especially among the groups most vulnerable to flu, who are also most at-risk from COVID-19."