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Influenza

Almost half of primary school children had been vaccinated against flu at end of November

Some areas, including West Berkshire, Windsor and Maidenhead, Kingston Upon Thames, Portsmouth and Bracknell Forest, achieved uptake levels above 70% in some age groups.

Almost half of primary school children had been vaccinated against seasonal flu by the end of November, show.

The 2017–2018 seasonal flu vaccination campaign for children began on 1 September 2017 and by 30 November, 49.8% of children in reception (aged 4–5 years), 48.8% in children school year one (aged 5–6 years) and 48.1% in children school year two (aged 6–7 years) had received the vaccine. Uptake rates were slightly lower in older age groups of primary school children with 45.6% of children in year three (aged 7–8 years) and 44.2% in year four (aged 8–9 years) having received the vaccine.

In 2016–2017, overall uptake during the campaign (which ran from 1 September 2016 to 31 January 2017) was 55.4%, and a similar pattern of declining uptake in older children was seen, with 57.1% of year one children vaccinated, 55.4% of year two and 53.3% of year three. Children in reception and year 4 were eligible for flu vaccine for the first time this season (2017–2018).

Vaccinations are given primarily in schools, supported by mop-up sessions at GP practices and pharmacies, because school delivery mechanisms have proved the most effective.

When flu vaccination was offered to children only in years 1 and 2 for the first time (2015–2016 season), uptake through school delivery was 55.1% compared with 32.9% through GP surgeries and 16.1% through pharmacies.

As in previous years, uptake was lower in more deprived areas and those with a significant Muslim or Jewish population. The London borough of Brent had uptake levels of less than 5% in all age groups and in Ealing uptake was less than 10% in most age groups between 1 September and 30 November 2017.

In contrast some areas, including West Berkshire, Windsor and Maidenhead, Kingston Upon Thames, Portsmouth and Bracknell Forest, achieved uptake levels above 70% in some age groups.

Citation: Electronicjuice DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2018.20204310

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