Three-quarters (75%) of those aged 65 and over in England had received their free vaccine by the final week of November, up from 72.4% at the end of the last flu season, with higher numbers of NHS workers also rushing to get vaccinated, figures from Public Health England have concluded.
From December, 50 to 64 years olds also became eligible for a free vaccine as part of this year’s expanded NHS flu vaccination programme, it added.
The uptake in healthcare workers was also ahead of this time last year, said PHE. By the end of October, more than half (51.6%) of healthcare workers had already been vaccinated – more than 100,000 more compared to the same period last year.
Overall, flu vaccine uptake was higher in all groups except pregnant women compared to this time last year, the PHE provisional data also indicted.
NHS trusts were warned in November that it was “vital” they had completed their staff flu vaccination programme by the end of last month to free capacity for the delivery of Covid-19 vaccinations.
General flu activity, including GP consultations and hospital admissions, has remained low so far this year, PHE said. This in thought to be in part because of the lower social interaction and wearing of masks prompted by Covid-19.