Wednesday 23 August 2017

Plea for better flu-jab uptake

Flu jab
Flu jab

People aged over 65 are not getting the flu vaccine in the numbers they should - even though it can reduce the risk of ending up in hospital due to the virus by 50-60pc and dying from its effects by 70-80pc.

The target is for 75pc of this group to get the jab, but a survey last winter found that the uptake was 59.4pc among those for whom there was data, the Health Protection Surveillance Centre said.

It said that in Ireland, flu vaccination rates among medical cardholders and GP visit cardholders aged 65 years and older show regional and age group variation. It ranged from 55.6pc in the mid-west to 62.4pc in the east for over-65s.

Overall uptake improved in most areas last winter compared to the previous two seasons.

However, low influenza vaccine uptake in the 65-69 year age group needs to be addressed, the group said.

Health professionals should encourage and facilitate access to vaccination for their at-risk patients, including all patients aged 65 years and older, the disease watchdog warned.

Studies have shown that the flu jab does work. It won't stop all flu viruses and the level of protection may vary between people, so it's not a 100pc guarantee of being flu-free.

But if you do get flu after vaccination, it's likely to be milder and more shorted-lived.

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