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Flu: Vaccine more effective in children

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The flu vaccine is 39% effective against the same The flu vaccine is 39% effective against the same strain in adults aged 18 to 64

The flu vaccine is more effective in children than in adults in the UK, figures released by Public Health England suggest.

The nasal spray flu vaccine is 87% effective in children aged two to 17 against the main circulating flu strain.

The flu vaccine is 39% effective against the same strain in adults aged 18 to 64.

‘It is encouraging to see that this year's vaccines are offering a high level of protection against the main circulating strain of flu - particularly for children,’ said Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at PHE.

‘Children tend to be 'super-spreaders' of flu and so protecting them is crucial for protecting the rest of the population. 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.’

Around 43% of two-year-olds have been vaccinated, compared with 45% of three-year-olds.

Among school-aged children, 56% to 64% have been vaccinated, depending on the year group.

Last year's figures for the flu season of 2017-18 indicate that the vaccine was only 15% effective among all age groups.

This included effectiveness of about 27% in children aged two to 17, 12% among people in at-risk groups aged 18 to 64, and 10% in those aged 65 and over.

For this latest flu season, a new vaccine has been brought in to improve effectiveness among the over-65s.

‘The most basic instinct for any parent is to do whatever they can to protect their child. Vaccinations save countless lives and are absolutely vital,’ said Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

‘More children have been vaccinated this year to protect against flu and it is a positive sign that the vaccine itself appears to be more effective than in previous years. Our world-leading vaccination programme saves lives and I urge all parents of young children to make sure their child is vaccinated against flu and other childhood diseases.’

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