The newly available adjuvanted influenza vaccine provided about 60% effectiveness for those aged 65 years and over, a report by PHE has found.
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.
‘We’re pleased that the adjuvanted vaccine, which was offered to older adults for the first time this year in England provided encouraging protection against the main circulating strains this winter. The flu vaccine programme demonstrates the value of vaccination throughout the life course,’ said Dr Richard Pebody, Head of Flu at Public Health England.
‘We’re pleased that more parents have been taking up the offer of vaccination for their children - and encourage anyone who is eligible to do so every winter. It’s the best defence we have against this unpredictable virus.’
Additionally, more children also took up the offer of the flu vaccine this winter than ever before, with around 3 million being vaccinated. Next season, all children up to the age of 10 years will be offered the nasal spray vaccine which means that all children in primary school will be eligible across the whole of the UK.
‘It’s also really promising to see that this year around 3 million children were vaccinated - and we’re expanding and improving the vaccine programme so that from next year it will be available to all children in primary school,’ said Seema Kennedy, Public Health Minister.
‘This data continues to prove that vaccines work - and I urge everyone to continue to take advantage of the world leading programme of vaccines we have in this country.’