Flu Vaccines Are Ready To Go in the UK
Practices and pharmacies in the UK are advised to start vaccinating eligible patients as soon as the appropriate vaccine becomes available.
According to NHS England, flu vaccines will become available at different times starting in September 2018.
Over time, protection from the flu vaccine gradually decreases and flu strains often change. So new flu vaccines are produced each year, which is why people are advised to have the flu vaccine every year.
This year, three types of flu vaccines will be used in the flu program. This product mix should ensure that each patient has the most suitable vaccine that protects against flu.
The three NHS England approve vaccines are:
- Adjuvanted trivalent flu vaccine (aTIV) - This is licensed for people aged 65 years and over and is the vaccine recommended by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisations (JCVI) for this age group. The deliveries of aTIV to practices and pharmacies will be staged between September and early November.
- Quadrivalent vaccine (QIV) - This is recommended for children aged from 6 months to 2 years and in adults from 18 years to less than 65 years of age who are at increased risk from flu because of a long term health condition. In general practice and via school based programmes.
- Live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) - This is a nasal spray and is licensed for children and young people from 2 years old to less than 18 years of age. The age groups targeted in England for this vaccine in 2018/19 are two and three year olds (through their GP surgery) and school aged children in reception class through to Year 5 (through schools). If LAIV is clinically contraindicated QIV is used in this age group.
The NHS England’s vaccination ambitions for 2018/19 are similar to previous years. The long term objective is to achieve a 75 percent uptake rate, which is recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The flu vaccine is the best protection against an unpredictable virus. Studies have shown that the flu vaccine will help prevent you getting the flu.
Flu vaccines won't stop all flu viruses and the level of protection may vary, so it's not a 100% guarantee that you'll be flu-free, said the NHS England.
In general, it is appropriate to still offer vaccination to eligible patients at any subsequent point in the flu season, even if they present late for vaccination.
This can be particularly important if it is a late flu season or when newly at-risk patients present, such as pregnant women who may not have been pregnant at the beginning of the vaccination period, said the NHS England.
Patients over 18 years of age, the elderly and patients with asthma or other long-term conditions can choose between going to their GP or a community pharmacy to get their flu vaccination.
NHS England and the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) said ‘this offering should help ‘capture hard-to-reach patients who would not otherwise take up the vaccine’.