Record level of flu jab uptake in those aged 65 and over
More people aged 65 and over have received their flu vaccine this year than ever before. However, uptake in pregnant women, those with underlying health conditions, and preschoolers remains behind uptake in older adults.
Of people aged 65 and over, 81.4% have already come forward for their flu vaccination this season, according to the latest data from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA). This is the highest uptake in this age group on record, above the end of season uptake of 80.9% last year. Thanks to those eligible for the vaccine coming forward, it means that England has already exceeded the World Health Organization (WHO) target of 75% in this age group for this winter season.
However, uptake in pregnant women and those with underlying health conditions remains low in comparison to older adults (37.1% for pregnant women and 49.2% for those under 65 with underlying health conditions), and preschool vaccination rates are less than last year’s record uptake during the same period (49.0% of 3-year olds and 46.6% in all 2-year olds). Uptake recorded in healthcare workers is also lower than at this point in previous years.
Dr. Conall Watson, Consultant Epidemiologist at UKHSA, said: "Flu can cause serious illness and be fatal. Flu vaccines save lives. That’s why it is so good to see that a record number of people aged 65 years old and over are now vaccinated against flu. But there are still many people in younger eligible groups – pregnant women and people with underlying medical conditions – who have not yet been vaccinated against flu this winter and are at risk of serious complications from flu infection.
Dr. Nikki Kanani, GP and medical director of primary care for NHS England, said: "This is testament to the hard work of health professionals across the country in rolling out the biggest free flu drive in healthcare history, in addition to delivering an incredible coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination programme.
"With more people than ever eligible for a free flu vaccine, it is fantastic to see such strong uptake of the flu vaccine so far, with millions of people having already received their dose of protection and I urge anyone who is eligible – including pregnant women, those with underlying health conditions, everyone aged 50 and above and frontline health and care workers – to come forward and book their vaccine as soon as possible."