UK: Vaccine for older adults gives significant protection against flu

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UK: Vaccine for older adults gives significant protection against flu

The annual flu report published by Public Health England reports that Influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 was the main strain circulating this season although Influenza A(H3N2) also circulated later on. Low to moderate levels of flu activity were seen in the community although impact on secondary care in terms of hospitalisations and ICU admissions was high.

The report shows that the flu vaccine offered to those eligible for immunisation this season reduced the likelihood of visiting the GP because of flu by approximately 44%.

Flu is known to particularly affect older people as they tend to have weaker immune systems. The adjuvanted vaccine, which was given to the majority of adults aged 65 and over for the first time this season, was estimated to have provided approximately 60% protection against the flu strains circulating this winter.

Background

Reported end of season flu vaccine effectiveness against all strains was:

  • 44.3% (95% CI 26.8, 57.7) across all ages
  • 48.6% (95% CI -4.4, 74.7) for 2-17 year olds (LAIV only)
  • 44.2% (95% CI 21.3, 60.5) for 18-64 year olds
  • 49.9% (95% CI -13.7, 77.9) for those aged 65 and over (all vaccine)
  • 62% (95% CI 3.4, 85.0) for those aged 65 and over (aTIV only)

Source: GOV.UK