Flu jab advert u-turn hopes to boost flagging vaccine rates
The government will run a flu jab advertising campaign this year following a fall in vaccination rates among ‘at risk’ groups.
As part of Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s NHS winter preparations, he announced a reinstatement of the government’s flu jab adverts to encourage people in ‘at risk’ groups to get vaccinated as rates are behind on the same point last year.
The flu advertising campaign will launch today (Monday 5 November) and will encourage people in at risk groups who haven’t yet been vaccinated to make sure they protect themselves from flu.
Figures taken from a sample of GP practices shows, only 48.9% of patients aged 65 or over have been vaccinated against flu – compared to 54.8 at this point in 2011/12.
Patients under 65 with clinical conditions are still lagging behind last year’s rates with 28.7% vaccinated – down on 32.2% last year.
However, the number of pregnant women who have already had the flu jab is up 9.5% on this time last year, currently standing at 23.1%.
"We have taken the decision this year to run a flu campaign because too many people in at risk groups have not come forward for the jab yet, although local campaigns have been running for the past month,” said Public Health Minister Anna Soubry.
“People may be lulled into a false sense of security about the seriousness of flu following a mild winter last year. The national campaign will build on the local 'flu safe' campaigns that have been running.
"Our campaign aims to encourage people who are most at risk from flu, who have put it off or who don’t think it is important, to get the vaccine.”
Around 4,700 people die every year after getting flu. People in at risk groups are said to be eleven times more likely to die than someone who is not in an at-risk group.