A small national study was carried out in England in 2003/2004 to ascertain the views of primary care trusts (PCTs) and general practitioners (GPs) on whether influenza immunisation should be extended to all people aged 50-64 years from the current recommendation of 65 years or more. Results showed that as many primary care trusts would be in favour, as would not be in favour. A similarly divided view was expressed by general practitioners. Vaccine uptake rates for high-risk (HR) and low-risk (LR) adults aged 50-64 years in the study population were higher in those practices where the GP was in favour of a more inclusive policy of offering flu vaccine to all persons aged 50 years or more, compared with those that did not favour this policy (60% versus 54% HR (p = 0.02) and 16% versus 11% LR (p = 0.02)). Higher rates of vaccine uptake for low-risk patients aged 50-64 years were also reported from practices where GPs perceived a greater health benefit of immunisation for this age group. Although policy for recommending vaccine to all patients aged 50 years or more is established elsewhere, opinion on whether such a policy should be adopted in England is currently divided amongst those providing local health services.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The United Kingdom Vaccine Industry Group provided an unconditional educational grant towards the costs of this study. The aims and objectives of the study were supported by the Department of Health, England.
- Vaccine uptake