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Universal flu vaccination for children gets underway

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Universal flu vaccination gets underway The Universal flu vaccination programme has begun

The UK departments of health recently announced the introduction of a universal childhood flu vaccine programme.1-4 This programme will extend the existing flu immunisation programme over a number of years to include all children aged two to under 17 years.

The programme was introduced following advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which was asked by the Secretary of State for Health to consider and make recommendations on possible extensions to the flu vaccination programme. Up until this year, the flu programme recommended annual flu vaccination for those aged 65 years and over, and for those in the defined clinical risk groups for flu, including all pregnant women.

During 2011, the JCVI reviewed the estimated impact (numbers of flu-related general practice consultations, hospitalisations and deaths) and the cost effectiveness of the existing flu vaccination programme, and considered a range of possible extensions to the programme. It examined the contribution of children to flu transmission and evidence of the indirect protection of others from flu vaccination of children.

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